An Inconvenient Truth

Spent an interminable number of hours on planes recently as I went to Melbourne to watch England’s total Ashes humiliation.  Awesome time though.  One of the many movies I watched was on Qantas’ cool on-demand service that every airline should adopt.  It’s the 60-min slide show by Clinton’s VP, Al Gore, screaming of the calamitous effects our carbon-addiction will bring.

And of course, it struck me that there were a couple of useful techniques any sales presentation could glean from his delivery, so I got to thinking, this needs a salespodder review to pass on pointers…

Graphs In Two

Overall, the use of graphs in general was excellent I thought.  Potentially baffling science info was condensed, with the focus being on all the startling outlier vlaues, that is spikes or residuals that rammed his points home.  And he always revealed the graphs gradually, so that at the very least, you saw one diagram with a normal set of images, then he’d add on later the punch, the ending where the wild stats come from.

Use Of Humour

Interesting one this, as throughout the whole show, he only cracked 4 or 5 funnies.  Although he starts with a gag (about once being America’s next President), it is indeed a useful reminder that presenters do not have to be stand-ups to deliver riveting content.

Exposing False Choices

Apart from the incessant barrage of doomsday graphs, lighter images neatly kept the flow engaging.  One such fine example was where a Bush administration dweeb was trying to justify internally, why this issue was a non-starter.  The picture he used was of a pair of scales.  On one, was a stack of six gold bars, on the other, the entire planet.  The inference was clearly that you can’t have both our lovely planet and economic prosperity.  Gore nicely belittled this view, and such a picture of scales I think is a cracker to get across the reality of inequitable choices in any business presentation.

Overcoming Intransigence

How much do we hate and suffer from when someone buyer-side digs in their heels because they fear any changes resulting from our wares will hurt them, when the facts are the entire business will benefit?  Here’s a terrific quote from some fella named Upton Sinclair to use to expose such losers:

“it is difficult to get a man to understand something if his salary depends on his not understanding it”

Barriers To Change

And another issue we sales people have to deal with regularly, when buyers are extremely (and naturally wrongly) change-averse.  Create a discussion around these two equations for glory:

Old Habits + Old Technologies = Predictable Consequence


those same Old hard-to-change Habits + New Technologies = Dramatically Altered Consequences

and he used the analogy of warfare to ram this home, with how levels of advancing technological take-up changed warfare forever, from spears to guns to the A-bomb.

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