“The Big Reveal”: How a Classic Piece of Movie Magic Can Help Your Presentation

This past week, I had two clients working on very different presentations.

One, a police investigator, had to speak to a roomful of public defenders about the uses (and potential abuses) of police officers wearing body cameras. The other had to speak about fragrance and how it can be used to enhance (or not) everything from your hotel stay to your virtual reality experience.

In both cases, incorporating a trick many of us know from the movies– the reveal—was used to help keep audiences engaged.

How did this work?

In the case of the client who was speaking about body cameras, I recommended he begin with 3 common misperceptions about their use. My idea was that this roomful of smart attorneys would be far more engaged if he began by challenging what they thought they knew, and catching them off guard with what they didn’t.

My fragrance client asked his audience to be ‘noses’ for a new scent and then send him their thoughts on the story behind it. The ‘reveal’ will come when he tells them which story has won.

How can you use this idea in your next presentation?

My suggestion would be to look at your material and imagine what possible (mis)perceptions/objections/pre-conceived ideas your audience might have about what you are going to be saying. Then, disabuse them of those notions. Perhaps you’ll do this by creating a few slides stating those ideas forthrightly and then revealing how your audience might be misinformed. Perhaps you’ll build them into a multiple-choice game of some kind: have them attempt to pick fact from fiction and then reveal which answer is correct (we love a competition).

Regardless of how you choose to incorporate it, bringing some of the mystery and magic of the movies to your presentations can help reveal a whole new you to your audience.

Frances Jones Cole signature