Blog Details

How To Become The Don Draper of Presentations


For any of those Mad Men fans out there, Don Draper mastered the art of presenting his creative ideas and telling impeccable stories convincing clients and prospects alike the creative director had all the advertising answers to their million dollar problems.  As a Mad Men fan, I personally noticed particular characteristics that propelled his presentations into compelling stories that would make you think twice in saying “no.”  If everyone watched even a little bit of Mad Men, people could grab a few tidbits of tips and advice on how become persuasive when presenting to clients.  Below are 5 things we pulled from the Don.

“Imagine” This….”Imagine” That

Don Draper had this uncanny ability to have his watchers and clients focus on what he’s saying while putting themselves in the words and prose of his talk.  After watching many seasons of Mad Men and many of his presentations, his use of the word “Imagine” became apparently effective in giving the audience that verbal cue.  “Imagine you’re with your kids…..Imagine you’re eating a bowl of cereal…..Imagine you’re at the beach.”  Imagine has this ability to evoke kid-like memories that allows you to lose slight control of yourself while moving into a nostalgic state.  Per the Don, “nostalgia can be even more powerful than memory.”  Utilizing imagine a few times throughout your presentation can and will immediately grab your audience and capture their senses…readying them for a mental journal.

Eliminate Weak Words

Don was known to evoke strength and resolves (at least in his presentations…not so much in his personal dealings).  Words such as “just” and “really” only take away from your speech and don’t add as much.  “I just wanted to talk to you” versus “I wanted to talk to you.”  You feel the difference when “just” is added. It weakens sentences and also weakens the perception of individual speaking.  These 15 words should be eliminated or at minimum vastly reduced from your vocabulary.

Slow Down – Don’t Speed Up

Notice in the pivotal clip of Don’ Draper reinventing the thought of the “carousel,” notice how he’s steady and easy in speech.  He flows with ease and doesn’t seem nervous nor fast in his speech.  Slowing down does 3 very powerful things when speaking to people.  First, it evokes confidence.  Notice when people are speaking fast, it doesn’t mean they’re not confidence.  But if you’re slow and steady in your speak, you have a tendency to create an aura the same way Don did in his pitch to the executives in the clip.  Second, it is easier for people to connect with your words and understand what you’re saying.  Lastly, it allows you, the presenter to both feel confident and remember what you’re saying.

Evoke Emotion

If you watched the “carousel” clip above, you will notice Don used his family as a prop in the pitch.  There are many ways to evoke emotion and getting personal is probably one of the best ways to accomplish this.  Creating an event or emotion that others can relate to is another powerful way to accomplish this.  Evoking emotion creates that personal connection with the audience many people yearn for when presenting.  We’re not suggesting finding ways to get your audience to cry, but when it’s appropriate, it can and will further captures the hearts and minds of the people you’re speaking to.

Use Those Similes & Metaphors

“As beautiful as a winter’s landscape.  She smile like the beautiful half moon.  As courageous as the soldiers we dear so much.”  Don regularly used similes and metaphors when speaking and pitching to clients.  The great thing with similes and metaphors is that they have a tendency to create relatability and thought to segments of your speech.  Don’t take Don’s word for it.  Think about the great speakers you love and adore…or at best appreciate.  Consider how often they us the words “as” and “like.”  Similes and metaphors were simply another weapon in Don’s arsenal.  Utilize them correctly, and they will only buttress your speech and further connect your audience with your purpose.

With every good presentation is a good presentation builder that fit the intricacies and identity of your organization. At CustomShow, we believe our presentation software can do just that.