Tips for Memorable Presentations: Relevance and Repetition

When it comes to building a brand new sales presentation, it is important to understand what your customer wants. Hermann Ebbinghaus, the German psychologist who pioneered the experimental study of memory, showed that retention can be improved by relevance and repetition.

(Click here to read our post on How the Memory Works)


Generic, one-size-fits-all sales presentations don’t really work because they are not customer specific. Sales presentations that focus on business features rather than customer benefits are destined to fail. Why? Well, the truth is, however boastful you would like to be about the great things your business does on a daily basis, your customer probably doesn’t care. Unless it is relevant to them, that is. 

Your content must be customer-centric. Your sales presentation must demonstrate what you can do for your customer; how you can help them achieve what they believe to be important (goals, targets etc.). People simply pay more attention to information that’s relevant to them. Just look, for example, at the extraordinary effort made by online advertisers to serve up adverts based on your previous purchases and browsing history. If you can demonstrate that you have a) done your research and b) crafted your sales presentation around it, the chances are that your customer will be impressed. Crucially, however, they will be interested, too.

Speak to your customer’s needs. Be sure to cover the content you know presses their hot buttons. If you connect your material to their needs by demonstrating clear relevance, you massively increase the chances of your audience remembering your message.
— Relevance, Memorable Presentations Tip #1

This illuminating graph by Mills H R (1977) shows what typically happens to audience attention span over 40 minutes. People’s minds wander. Attention dips overwhelmingly in the middle and yet where do most presenters pack their presentation sales message? You got it.

Make sure your key sales message - likely the whole point of your presentation - is not packed away somewhere once in the middle. PowerPoint presentations work best in small, segmented sections that offer a constant summary. Repeating your presentation sales message again and again can only help your chance of being remembered.
— Repetition, Memorable Presentations Tip #2

Your key sales messages (normally ‘customer benefit statements’) need repeating several times. The chances of your audience picking up the reasons that they should do business with you in one go are remote. Repeating key messages allows you to punctuate your presentation and give your client more chance to buy into what it is you’re presenting.

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