How can this image change the way you present?

Lee Featherby
3 min readOct 5, 2017

Most people know what they should do. They know what they should do to lose weight, they know what they should do to retire comfortably and they know what they should do to give up smoking. In fact, on a day to day basis, whether personal or business, none of us seems to be short of knowledge about what we should do.

So why can some people do these things and others can’t?

Why can some people do things, often very tiring things or very difficult things, even some very simple things and some can’t? I am sure we all know what the difference is: motivation! See, we even know this but for those of us struggling to get some things done, knowing that motivation is the source doesn’t help us get motivated, it just gives us a reason to beat ourselves up!

So what is the source of motivation? What is it that has someone give up smoking or lose 20Kgs or work 12 hours a day or run a marathon? It’s very simple: they have a different relationship to what needs to be done because they have a more powerful relationship to “why” they are doing it.

Now, I’m not trying to simplify the entire theory of motivation here. Far greater minds than mine have applied themselves to that question, what I am saying is, motivation is the “why” we do what we do. I do assert the more powerful someone holds a why, the more likely they are to take a course of action. “Why” are some people so strict on eating certain types of foods? Because they believe what they eat impacts their quality of life and the degree to which they believe this, and the degree they feel a good quality of life is important, will impact their motivation. The stronger the belief in the why, the more they will act consistent with that.

Why (excuse the intended pun) do I raise this in the context of presentations? Because too often in presentations people spend a lot of time on the what but spend no time on the why. People will not buy into the what, where, how or who until the “Buy the Why”.

So, the next time you are presenting, do the following:

Ensure you talk about why this presentation is important: What is before the people in the room now that needs to be discussed during the presentation?

Why is it important that a decision be reached now?

For every part of your what, where, who, etc…precede it with a why you need to do this.

Make the ‘why” as personal as possible.

I saw the billboard in the image above when I was walking through Singapore a few years ago. I still believe it’s a brilliant example of how ‘why’ can impact knowing. In this case it brings a potent ‘why’ to the increase in bus numbers and changes it from a statistic to a reason. Next time you are presenting something that is about “knowing” ensure you include the reason why that is important.



Lee Featherby

Powerpoint whisperer, master communicator, Sydney-Shanghai cross-cultural messenger.