Business Development Series Posted by David McDermott

When it comes to giving presentations it is important to remember that the purpose is always to ensure that you leave every member of your audience with the same, clear, consistent message. This applies to informative, persuasive, formal, informal, internal and external presentations.

In order for this to happen presenters need to be very clear about what their key messages are. However they are often confused about what a message is. When asked, they often say things like, “We have over 500 staff”, “We’ve done this before” or “This is what we do”. The problem with the first comment is that it is not a message; it is a feature of the organisation. The problem with the second two is they don’t qualify how well they do things and are fairly bland statements. They will get lost in the content of the presentation.

Saying “We have unrivalled expertise” or “A proven track record” is a marked improvement. Using the acronym ART however, can help you define your message in a more creative way.

A is for alliteration e.g. a fund manager describing their investment process as “Rigorous, Robust and Repeatable”.

R is for rhyme and repetition. A good example here was the CEO who was delivering good news to his people after a difficult period of change and turmoil due to profit warnings. He told them they were, “Back in the black, back on track”. The property experts provide us with an example of repetition when they say that there are three important things about a property, “Location, Location, Location”.

The T is for threes and twists. For example, instead of saying, We have done it before” the client mentioned at the beginning of this article wrapped up their presentation by saying, “What that all adds up to is experience; we have the length of experience, the breadth of experience and the depth of experience necessary to meet your objectives. Finally, a personal favourite was the property company who used a twist at an environmental conference, “Having an environmental policy doesn’t cost the earth”.

Here are some further examples:


  • Worldwide, World class, Working for you
  • Proven, Positive, Profitable
  • Effective, Efficient, Economical
  • Rigorous, Robust, Repeatable

Rhyme and repetition

  • Boom – Bust – Readjust
  • No Pain – No Gain
  • Grace, Space, Pace
  • Education – Education – Education
  • Tax doesn’t have to be taxing

Threes and twists

  • Reassuringly Expensive
  • The world’s local bank

When designing your presentation it is advisable to define your messages first. That way you can select content to support your message and avoid the “information dump”.

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