Ever felt that vague sense of dissatisfaction as you round up your presentation?
Somewhere there was a great message that never got out.
Don’t worry. There’s a better way to work on this so you never feel that way again!
There’s bad news and there’s good news.
The bad news is that most presentations suck. You may think that most are OK (or yours are the only bad ones!) but try to remember the last three you attended and you might begin to understand my criteria.
The good news is: you’re not alone! So if you want some company and a feeling of community, you’ve found it. But also, and here’s the best bit:
It’s not your fault.
It’s just that nobody has shown you how to do it right. And your own presentation is the hardest to change. You’re suffering from the curse of knowledge just for starters.
More in a moment, but first – are you sitting down? You might want to consider doing so for a moment.
Here we go. Hold onto your seat.
The warning signs are clear:
- You don’t have everyone’s attention all of the time. You see tops of heads when they check their phones. And profiles when they look out the window.
- You don’t see expressions of energy and rapt attention. You get straight faces and blank stares.
- People leave the room before you finish speaking, as furtively as they can. (If someone would rather stay they often look less furtive about leaving and may even signal to you as they go out to say “thank you and sorry but I really have to leave”).
- You don’t get any questions.
- You don’t get a round of spontaneous applause as soon as you finish. People may applaud when your host thanks you and asks them to show their appreciation, but not otherwise.
- People come to talk to you after the presentation and may say thank you for the nice presentation, but then they ask you a question and obviously have a purpose in talking to you. Nobody comes up, says thanks for the great presentation and then leaves.
- You meet up with someone from the audience a week later but they don’t remember a thing about it and obviously didn’t hear much of what you said.
But wait! It might get better. There’s another side to this
Six signs your presentations are really good, and you maybe didn’t realize it
- People pay rapt attention all the time and sometimes smile in recognition. They’re trying to let you know they’re enjoying your talk.
- Nobody looks down. Nobody looks out the window.
- When you give a clear indication you’ve finished speaking, people break out in spontaneous applause.
- You get relevant questions and so many that you have to stop the process before everyone’s done.
- Many people come up afterwards and say thank you for the great presentation. Then they leave. They have no ulterior motive or hidden agenda.
- You meet someone months after your presentation and they remember what you talked about. They thank you once again for a good presentation.
You’ve probably seen one or two really good presentations in your time. The best sign is that you remember them. Maybe it just seems that some people are born knowing how to give great presentations.
It’s not your fault that your presentations don’t work very well. It’s just that no one has broken it down for you using your own style of speaking and your specific material.
It takes a lot of practice to apply the principles of good communication to all kinds of material – specially scientific and technical business presentations.
Maybe you’ve attended a course in presentation technique and read enormous amounts of advice on the Internet.
STOP DOING THAT!
For someone who has given a whole load of courses in presentation skills that’s a mighty weird thing for me to say. Why do I say that? Well, because it’s probably like this.
You sit there through the course or read all that excellent advice and you think “yeah, that sounds fairly straightforward.”
I can do that!
The theory of how to make a great presentation is actually very simple. On paper.
Then you go back to work and run smack bang into those back-to-back meetings, done-by-yesterday-tasks and email Armageddon.
Being busy is stopping you from being a better you
What seems so simple fades into a fog of uncertainty the moment you open your presentation.
Exactly how do you get across that specific message to that particular audience in the short time that you have?
Now it’s far from easy and you don’t understand why.
You are the worst person to judge your own material. And the Curse of Knowledge plays its part in making things harder. An outsider, on the other hand, can easily cut down the flab, choose different words and suggest an image or two.
My advice would be to get coaching instead
Have someone who sits beside you and knows exactly how to create great presentations. Someone who can show you the specific adjustments to get your material to work well. And teach you a method you can use for ever.
When you get it, you really get it. You’ll see no more tops of heads and blank stares. You’ll get the smiles and nods and spontaneous applause that a great speaker enjoys
Those of us who have understood what it’s all about are reaping the benefits of great careers, more business and a wave of appreciation and recognition.
Wouldn’t you like to as well?
With a coach by your side who themselves knows how to give great presentations you can step out from behind your slides and learn how to use those words and images.
Let your unique brilliance take the stage and show them a better you
Stop being a slave to the technical stuff and start using it to help you shine.
I’d just like to leave you with this thought:
If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you’re right.
Go find a coach! There’s one not too far away…