One of the things I always stress to clients and students is the importance of getting personal in presentations. My reasoning for this is summed up well by the following quote:

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

It’s crucial to convey to the audience that you not only care about them and their needs, but you also genuinely care about whatever it is you’re presenting. People want to know your “why.”

But a common response I get to this concept is something along the lines of: “If I had 10 minutes I’d get personal, but I only have a few minutes. I don’t have time to share my story.” Wrong!

Even if you’re giving a 60-second elevator pitch, there’s always enough time to touch upon your why. Let’s say, for example, that you’re pitching your new pet sitting business. Your opening could be: “Two years ago I lived next door to an adorable Yorkshire Terrier whose sad cries for attention left me feeling the exact same way. I started Mary’s Pet Sitting to help alleviate the problem of animal loneliness.”

How long did it take you to read that? Assuming a generous 10 seconds, that would still leave you 50 seconds to talk about the other elements of your business, such as your competitive differentiators, business model, call to action, etc. And with this approach you’ve grabbed people’s attention from the get-go by saying why you care, and suggesting why they should care, too. In this example, you’ve immediately won over any animal lovers in the room because they can no doubt relate to your story.

See how easy this is? No excuses. There’s always enough time to get personal.