An opera in four acts

If you’re planning to give a talk, and the only Aida you know is a four-act opera by Giuseppe Verdi, then it’s time to take a look at or to read Robert Plank’s blog and learn about this great methodology for structuring presentations.

As an example, here’s a short presentation (also in 4 acts) that I have composed to illustrate the AIDA principle (view it on SlideShare).

First act: In which I am grabbing my audience’s Attention by starting with e.g. a trivia fact, an intriguing quote or a provocative question.

AIDA_attentionDid you know that Verdi refunded the opera’s admission price to a student who wasn’t very impressed with Aida? The young guy even asked him to be reimbursed for the money he spent for food on the train, but Verdi admonished him that he could have eaten at home.

To make a bridge to the rest of the presentation, I would add a statement like “I hope that I won’t have to pay any one of you after this presentation,” and even offer some cookies to the audience…

Second act: Trying to make sure that I’ll get their Interest and time for listening to the rest of my presentation.

AIDA_interestThis is the moment to introduce the other AIDA and tell the public that this is a methodology that had made sense for (almost) every presentation I ever gave.

Third act: Creating a Desire by giving them some compelling details and examples to show the value of my proposition.

AIDA_desireNote that there’s a variant of AIDA, AIDEA, where the “E” stands for Evidence. In this additional act there’s opportunity to further elaborate on proof points, case studies and facts & figures.

Fourth act: The grand finale. Calling for Action, to make sure that the people in the room are ready for taking a next step with me or my company. In this case, I am taking the opportunity to shamelessly promote my blog ;-)

AIDA_actionAs it’s always wise to summarize at the end: AIDA is an acronym that is easy to remember, and –even better– a technique that works with (almost) every story you want to tell.