So, imagine that you were walking by and saw a simple sign that said “Free Presentation Course” at the bottom is date, time and location. It is today, and the location is not far away, so you decide to check it out. “I wonder what they will teach me?” you wonder. “Maybe a better way to use my body or some good powerful phrases to catch attention.”
You come small office building, get into a narrow elevator and go to the 3rd floor. You get out and go to the meeting room. There about five to six people already there and a bald white guy who appear to be the teacher. You take a seat two rows back, and the teacher starts “Before we talk about specific presentation technique, I want to talk first about being a good presenter as a person. So, let`s first start off with “Being Pro-active” and then we will move on to priorities.
You are a bit annoyed. It doesn`t look like this guy is going to talk about presentation skills at all, and not only he isn`t even bother to introduce himself. Well, at least it is free. So you decided to see what this will be about.
The Pro-Active Speaker
All Speakers are pro-active in some way. Even the one that complains about the tough crowds, the microphone that acts up, or the stop light that made him or her late. You have to be, because speakers are leaders. They may not have a specific title or position, but the audience looking to you for inspiration, guidance, and possibly a good joke.
A reactive person would not even be on stage. They would need something to react to. The audience is not going to give you much of a reaction until you start speaking first, and even then, the audience tends to react to you more than you react to them.
Great speakers take 100% responsibility. In that they believe that they have the ability to properly respond to any situation and not gripe too much about it.
For example, I was given a presentation in front of about 100 people when the microphone died. There was no replacement. I was also a very soft-spoken speaker. I could have gotten mad at the MC or the staff for not doing their job, for not checking the microphone and for keep a spare on hand.
But, in reality that was my job. I should have checked beforehand. I should have had a backup or at the very least checked the staff in advanced so that they could prepare one. All of that was my responsibility. All of that was something that I could have actively taken care off.
Considering that I did not do any of that preparation work, the next best thing was to apologize for the situation, ask people to come closer, and speak as loud as I could so everyone could hear.
Whatever the case a great speaker looks at the situation and sees what he or she can do to make it better. As Steven Covey says, highly effective people are pro-active. So, highly effective presenters are too.
Begin with the Ending in Mind
If you were to think about creating a presentation what would you start off with first? A creating a key message? Picking a good story? Probably neither.
You are a navigator, a steward, a guide. So, you need to know what the end will be.
When I mean end I do not mean just the ending of your speech. Some do start with the final phrase or the final scene in their speech. That is good as far as it goes. But, I think there is more than that. I feel you need to think of how the audience should feel after the speech is finished. But, not only that what will happen when the members of the audience go home. What would prevent your presentation from just being another forgotten item in a long laundry list of things that people forget.
The simple thing would be to start with one person. Do not go with “I have an audience member who is between 30~40 years old, an officer worker, and also watches TV. There is so such person.
A few may pick a persona, name it Bob, and also give it a few details. Like age, hobby, family, etc. But this is still fake, and many time emotional important details are left too vague or completely out altogether. Or what is assumed to be his worries could be completely wrong. It is much better to imagine a real person. Someone you know. Someone that you really want to get your point across.
Then imagine how that person would react after your presentations done. What would happen after that person goes back to his normal life. What would change? What would you want to be changed? These are the things you want to think about. These are the thing you need imagine be you pick a key message or a simple story.
Additionally, this presentation is just one of many in your journey of becoming a great presenter. There are other questions you need to answer. What kind of presenter do you want to be? What do you value as a presenter? What are the skills and abilities that you need to be the best presenter you want to be? Where are you now and what do you need to do to get where you want to be? Etc.
A great presenter will not only look at the end game for a specific presentation, but all for his career and his business.
Putting the First Thing First
Once you have an idea of how you audience should be changed after your presentation, then it is a question of what you put in what order. Also, it is a question of that to put in and what to leave out. Many people struggle with determine to what to put in and what to leave out. Some feel that they have to include every single detail. They feel that if they do not put those details in no one will get their point. This is sometimes the case. But in many instances, it is just too boring. You need to find a good balance. There is no perfect formula for that.
My English teacher Mr. White once gave us an assignment to speak in front of class. One of my classmates in middle school, named Jack, asked Mr. White, “How long does our speech need to be?”He replied, “As long as a dog`s leg.” Perplexed, Jack asked what he meant. The teacher said, “As long as it needs to be and no more.”
That was not the answer that Jack wanted to hear. Many of us want the easy answer of a specific time. Fortunately, the real world does put time constraints. But, they may vary. You may have only one to two minutes to pitch your presentation. You may have 10 minutes to give a short presentation in front of a small crowd. Then you may have 30 minutes to an hour to give that same presentation in front of a larger audience.
In any case, it is a good idea to at least imagine what you keep and what you would not based on different time constraints. Based on those decision you will feel is essential and what is not. So, how do you decide? There really are only two ways.
First would be to think of that one single person. If you were in a conversation with that person, what would you say? What if you only had a few minutes? What if you had a relaxing 30-minute conversation?
The other thing would be actually try your presentation in front of real people and get their feedback. This can be the best way if and only if you know what your core message and core outcome is. Too many people accept too much advice simply as is and in the end their presentation become too unfocused. So, you need to be careful.
Another thing is particularly for western audiences. It is a good idea to get your biggest and most important point out in front at the beginning. But remember your mileage may vary depending on the culture and the audience.
Create Win-Win with your Audience
And any speaking situation all speakers think of about their message and their speech so much. The audience on the other hand usually care about WIIFM what's in it for me. Many speakers think about them speaking to many many many many people. And this is something that most people forget about their like so into their speech and their message and the fact that they can change the world or whatever they have to say It's so really important that it's really got to get out. But the situation is most people don't care and they won't care until you show that you care about them.
So I can give you an example, suppose I was giving a seminar say on negotiation. What did I say that the audience members are mainly moms. So if I went on and you know this is a great course on learning how to negotiate well and business and you know what you should try because it's just so much that you can do. Not just saying something like that is completely nuts. The audience are moms you don't care about business, they don't care the course, how great you are or even how great of some special guest that you called. They care about the kids, how deal with them, how to raise them. So in that case you'd actually have to structure the message such that it's a clear win for them.
Especially when you're trying to pitch a negotiation class in the idea is that in any negotiation there are winners and losers. Sometimes there are losers and losers And because you split the difference and those people come out unhappy. That's not how mothers want to end up with their kids.
Mothers want to be able to communicate and get their kids to behave. If you were really interested in pitching this to moms, you would have to couch it so that what they learn will be beneficial to the relationship with thier kids. How do I say sure WIN-WIN situation.
Cuz let's face it most people in the audience do not care about what you have to say unless it's something worthwhile to them to listen. So it's either when when or lose and not be heard.
To Be Understood, Show You Understand
Another important skill is to be understood and then show your understanding. This sounds so counter-intuitive because you speak first there is no understanding of your audience before you talk.
Actually it is, If you can actually speak to people as they come walking in before you do talk so you can get a feel of who the people are coming. I've known speakers who come to this day before they walk around they talk to people and then they give their their speech. I've heard professionals to give questionnaires they interview might have to ride if you people in the business that they're delivering the motivational speech for. Before they say even a word, They clearly know the people in the room. They know what they like, dislike, and hope for.
Let me give you an example , Oh that as before the audience is a bunch of moms and I want to talk about the jewelry of Google voice input. And I don't know about you but even if it's not mom's there are plenty of people who are intimidated by technology. Just talking and having text come out seems so magical. It also seems like it could be difficult. And with so much pressure on your time why do you really want to learn one thing?
So, I just need to paint the picture of a mom who is probably stressed and there's not a lot of time and it's just hectic. You as a speaker have to show that you understand their situation you understand how they really feel. You do that before you go on to your main point.
Now the trick here is I am not a mom nor do I have kids so there's probably going to be a little bit of concern that I'm not really one of them. in that case you have to do a little bit of a research and find some sort of commonality. This could be like how you deal with your mom or Or with your in-laws or some other similar situation. But, I must have gone by into your idea and less you should show that you understand that pain you understand their situation and your solution has them in mind .
Stephen Covey Mention Synergy or another way of putting it creative cooperation. now the same strange, too, Because the speaker is one person. Is a person on stage talking to a whole bunch of people and there's no real operation with anybody. At least that's what's most people seem to think.
But there's really a whole team to this situation. Depending on the size of the event you may be dealing with a MC, you may be dealing with people who oversee the mic and the lights. All the other people dealing with frustration or emotion or whatever it is that gets this event rolling.
And so the show is not so much about you and what your message is it's about how you can contribute in the most positive way to bring the most value to the event.
Another way of thinking about this is to consider that everyone has strengths and weakness. If you've ever taken a Strengths Finder survey You will find out what you're good at and what you're not good at. By being very clear about what you are good at and not good at you can ask people to help you with the things you are not good at and create an experience that is much better than you could do by yourself.
Sharpen That Mic!
That being said there is still the prerogative of improving your skill. So what this means is it's important to improve all things that you are good. If you look at the case of say Michael Jordan he didn't just skip practice and play during the the games. He got out on the court And he practiced every day.
So for me if you want to be the best whatever is enjoy you really need to go out there and work on that skill. But if you've ever been familiar with the book on Peak Performance and what is required to be the best is you do need to practice deliberately and that means with a strong goal in mind it also means that you need to practice and a slightly uncomfortable at times situation and you usually need a coach or a mentor to help guide you and put you in situations that are on the edge of your capability. It Is by being on that you grow as a speaker or as a human being in general.
At first glance the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People may not have much to do with speaking or presenting in general I actually have quite a lot to do with each other.
You need to be more active in the decisions you make and and also how you deal with yourself on stage and have a positive and proactive attitude on stage. We also need to begin with the end in mind and that tends to work very well in a case of presentations because if you already know what the main objective the presentation supposed to be it's much easier to think back words to how you should begin your speech and not only that too consider that once the speech is over and the people go back to real life. ou will have created a presentation with enough thought that people will actually enact the change. You You will have to put the correct priorities in order and also the correct parts of your presentation in the right order so that you actually accomplish what needs to be done.
Again that only works from a individual perspective will not work with his presentation by itself because it takes two to make a presentation. Therefore, we have to consider the other parts of Stephen covey's habits. We need to consider that before the audience will listen to us, that we have to understand thoroughly them and to give voice to that understanding. We need to make sure were create a win-win situation between ourselves and the audience. We also need to create win-win or synergist situations where all the people who help you put together your presentation and make your day a great day.
Finally, I there are a lot of presentation and public speaking books out there. There a lot of the same stuff that gets recycle over and over again. But, the important point is that there is a lot to be learned about these subjects in books that are not directly connected with them. So read a lot, write and lot and speak alot. You will help other and be all the better for it.