Stinky or Hefty?

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been an audience member witnessing a less-than-rehearsed presentation, wishing the speaker had taken the time to get familiar with the message and/or delivery, let alone prepare the impact they were trying to make.

The experience stinks.

This is such a common occurrance I want to put out there to my readership the Top Reasons Presentations Stink.

1. The messenger thinks they can “wing it”, because they know the topic so well. Although they may know the topic, it isn’t about them. It’s about the audience. Winging it means the presenter hasn’t prepared how to connect, how to relate the information, nor how to influence the observer. Winging it means not preparing – simply acting as though they didn’t know in advance to be thoughtful and respectful. To let the audience feel comfortable or at ease with them. To take the opportunity of the moment.

2. The messenger focuses only on information. In this case, the messenger usually goes overboard. He/she is so caught up with trying to impress, there is no life to the message. Instead of adding story and engagement to the opening or to the most important points, the speaker has packed the message full of detail, often laced with acronyms and professional lingo. This messenger has seldom been in front of a group, and it shows. They probably will not get invited back to the podium, so unless they are the person in charge of the event or environment, they will not learn their lesson.

3. The messenger loses focus. Maybe our speaker tells nothing but story after story. In this case, perhaps she/he experienced interest after the first one, and wanting to further develop the positive responses continued on in the “oh, if you liked the first one, you’ll really like this next one” way of thinking.

There are two things the audience wants – good information and a great experience. Pairing meaningful information with pertinent application is the key. Without that focus, the speaker has lost the chance to give information and to influence. Loss of focus makes the audience lose interest, develop discomfort, question the speaker’s credibility and even leave.

4. Rely on external forces to impress the audience. Just like a resume, power point presentations have only one objective – illustrate the point already being made by the individual. It’s not the end-all and be-all of the messenger’s value. In fact, I’m an advocate for being the No Technology approach. Unless trying to illustrate a complicated pattern, or to show an image that speaks to the point being made, the best message is one given by the speaker’s main tool – the voice/body combination.

A HEFTY presentation is one that lives. It grabs attention, it makes the audience feel as though they were important, and it escapes the constraints of time. HEFTY is memorable – it is lasting without being long. It makes a difference.

No, it isn’t easy to prepare a HEFTY presentation. It takes strategy, understanding and resolve to commit to its delivery. But it is worth it. And then it’s a cinch once the audience responds so favorably, that another presentation, of similar preparation, will get delivered.

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On February 15th, 2010, posted in: Uncategorized by