Dan Roam’s book Show and Tell is about how to make extraordinary presentations.
In the middle of the book he takes you through a 24-page, half-hour presentation on the subject of accounting, which makes the case that the profession needs to be “recognised as the foundation of a flourishing free-market society”.
To be honest, I was not planning to share this book with retailers, as most of you will not be getting together a deck of PowerPoint slides to win over an audience anytime soon.
But then I realised Roam’s book has some important lessons for bricks and mortar retailers as you are communicating with signs and messages outside and inside your store all the time. But are you telling shoppers the right stories?
I also changed my mind because he made the accounting presentation really interesting and memorable, and the whole book can be absorbed in a day and has lots of great illustrations and so on.
In the beginning, Roam explains how to make an extraordinary presentation. First, you tell the truth. Second, you tell it with a story. And third, you tell the story with pictures.
His chapter explaining the three rules is shorter than Dr Seuss’s Cat in the Hat. The purpose of presentations is to “create and deliver a report, explanation, pitch or story so captivating that our audience wants to see things the way we do”.
Roam explains about the desire to captivate an audience. In your case these are shoppers. He says the purpose is to get the audience to see things the way we do, which, in your case, is to buy the stuff you have selected for them and appreciate it so they come back.
Roam explains in this first short chapter how people measure truth in three ways: with our head, our hearts and with data. The head says: I think this is true. The heart says: I believe this is true. Data says: the facts tell me this is true. All three are not equal. Before making a presentation you need to think about your audience and present the information in the right way.
All presentations can be classified into four types: ones that change people’s information, their abilities, their actions and their beliefs. Roam’s book helps you to understand which messages work in which ways. As retailers, you need to use all four.
You need to provide people with information on your products, usually in the form of price deals or offers. You need to provide shoppers with ideas on new ways of consuming what you sell, for example, by getting them to buy more expensive wine when they have guests. You need to pitch shoppers with new ideas, such as using your store to buy breakfast on their way to school. And you need to inspire your shoppers with the belief that your shop is special to them – the greatest local shop in the whole world and which they will be raving fans of.
What Show and Tell may teach you is how to make delivering the facts insightful and memorable for shoppers. How to make sure your explanations are effortless for the shopper to understand. How to ensure your pitches are undeniable. And how to tell the story of your business so people feel it is their own.
“When we trust our idea and are confident, we will enjoy our time on stage and we will help our audience change,” writes Roam. His book may help you do the same in-store.