Good reason to have someone observe you

Today I observed a presenter for the second time in a week., the 4th time overall. New presentation, new venue and different presenting style all led toward my feeling of respect for the presenter who cares enough about his presentation impact to learn from an outsider about his patterns.

Two days ago this speaker was in his groove – sharing high energy, telling stories, laughing and engaging the audience. One lacking area was his message structure. Today his structure was well-presented but his energy was low.

What a difference a day makes.

Like all human behavior, our speaking performance is as variable as our athletic performance. Some days we are “in the zone” with our connection to the audience, open to interaction and attentive to audience needs. Other days we are distracted by our own need to accomplish an “agenda”.

Humans are perfect in design, not in behavior.

To him, he was not “with it” today like he was on Monday. Out of his groove, he stuck to content and a structure created for persuasiveness instead of relying on his own energy for persuasiveness. What he experienced today, from his side of the podium, was lethargy.

What he needed was the experience from the other side of the podium. Fortunately, he has engaged me to be his eyes from the audience.

Many presenters seek guidance from key observers – those willing to see them perform repeatedly – so they can detect and communicate patterns.

Speakers need to know more than what they felt about their presentation. They need to know their patterns.

As a presentation coach, I want presenters I observe to know what is experienced from their audience’s seat. This is the perspective presenters would otherwise not understand. There are patterns speakers fall into, both when things are going well and when things don’t that they wouldn’t understand without a regular attendee’s perspective.

With repeated observation, I can help them understand which of their patterns work for them and which of their patterns work against them.

So if our design or intention is to influence others, we must manufacture confidence in ourselves. One way to do this is to understand our patterns.

Although my client’s energy was down today, his format was stronger. Although he is a known entertainer, he isn’t always one to clarify content. Today he made adjustments on how he engaged his audience early on, on how he informed them in his focus and then he stayed on message, sacrificing his over-the-top energy.

A performer’s effectiveness is based on his comfort and confidence with what he says and does today.

As speakers make improvements for the sake of getting better audience engagement, they must also spend time developing faith in what they are doing.

Understanding  the impact of the above as well as your presentation behaviors, your attitude toward change and your pre-presentation habits can help you solidify your performance overall. For this objective reflection, seek someone’s guidance.

If you have a presentation coach, seek their assistance and observation of you, regularly. It is easier for them to pick up on your patterns than for you to see them.

Once they share the patterns they observe, they can coach you into breaking down the barrier patterns so you can more often find your groove.

Need a presentation coach? Let me know. I will repeatedly observe you, help you understand your patterns and find your groove so when your energy is low or attitude is weak, you can present so your audience sees your effectiveness.




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