Problems at the Podium

The 2 most common problems presenters have at the podium:
  • Getting off topic
  • Cramming too much information into a short amount of time
I don’t want problems at the podium. I want results. Here is a 3-fold process that steers me away from these 2 problems and into a flow that connects the audience, creates influence and motivates action.

3-fold process to eliminate problems at the podium

1. Plan the scope of your topic. With your audience in mind, approach your topic from the everyday and special interest of their needs. This requires researching their common challenges and pairing it with your expertise in how to help them mitigate, if not eradicate, their issues. Your presentation is not about you – it’s about your audience.
2. Prepare your influence strategy. First, be sure you have such a thorough understanding of your topic that you can relax into its delivery, despite questions. Then, appeal to your audiences’ common needs: some are only influenced by facts/statistics, some are emotional and need story, others are visual and need to “see” what you mean or want and and finally, others simply want clarity so they can determine their own ability to do what you want.
Additionally, knowing what most audiences want helps you to tailor your appeal in their language. They want peace of mind, results, quality and ways to relate. Speak to these things when you motivate them to apply your message and you have a solid influence strategy that stays with them well after you’ve ended your message.
3. Practice your presentation while on your feet. Get up and get moving with your notes. I suggest writing out the entire presentation simply to get a flow for it. Then, condense it down to note cards that address the key points. If you must use a script, then memorize it in two places – the intro and the conclusion. It is here you must make eye contact – set the tone you desire for the message and deliver your message with confidence. The rest of the presentation needs variety of pace, movement and your personal investment in it so your audience connects with you.
With practice you can identify any weak areas, address them, rehearse them until smooth and then step up to the podium to begin your talk and walk away from it to make  a connection your audience isn’t used to.
Do you want your efforts to pay off? Then do what it takes. Apply these 3 steps and gain control of your time at the podium.

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