Newsletter October 2010
Over the years I have listened to presentations on many and varied topics delivered by people attending my training courses. I’ve learned about budgies, tomatoes, beads, buttons, Christmas trees, reincarnation, croquet, bus trips, betting, dancing, haiku poetry, the life cycle of a frozen pea, how to kiss a woman, and about someone’s relative who kept a coffin in readiness by the side of his bed!
Can you imagine the conversation:
‘Would you like to come with me and listen to a presentation on frozen peas?’
‘Er …. well no, actually’.
BUT ... what I have learnt is that no matter what the topic, the presentation can be absolutely fascinating if delivered in the right way.
I’ve been attending a number of events recently, and three presentations have stood out for me.
All three were fundamentally sales presentations in some form, two of which were highly effective, and one which wasn’t. Afterwards I analysed what was going on.
All three presentations were given by speakers who were comfortable in front of a group. All three speakers were smartly presented, experienced in their field, and had prepared their presentations well, both the verbal content and supporting visuals.
Where they differed was in the level of enthusiasm they had for their topic. The first two were passionate about their topic and their message. They ‘lived’ what they talked about; they had a vision; they shared their vision enthusiastically; they believed it was of benefit to others; they wanted others to be part of their vision, to see and experience the positive aspects that they could see.
Sure, they acknowledged the challenges people could face, but they provided a way of dealing with them.
The third speaker - whose topic could have been highly inspirational given the chance - left me feeling flat and disillusioned. His level of enthusiasm for the topic was low; any positive statement was accompanied by a non-positive statement, and his focus on the challenges was to such an extent that they became problems and hindrances, not issues to be overcome. As a result there was little buy-in from the audience and the thoughts I left with were not so much about his message, more about why he was in that line of work.
Sometimes people say to me ‘My topic is a bit boring’. I understand that the average audience member is drawn to some subjects more than others, but if you present your message from a mindset of ‘this is boring’, you will probably be highly successful in making the audience think the same way.
No matter what the topic, when you find an angle that interests you, one that gives you a level of enthusiasm, you can make any presentation interesting for the audience.
People buy into enthusiasm. No one is going to be more enthusiastic about your topic than you, so you need to project that air of passion!
Think it through and find as many angles of enthusiasm as you can. For example, how did you come to be in this situation? If it’s a work presentation, what attracted you to the job? Find the enthusiasm you have had for it. If you were to leave your job, why would other people apply for it, what would they find attractive about the role?
What about clients or customers, why do they use your products or service? What do they find appealing about them?
What is the purpose of your presentation, what are you ultimately aiming to do? What are the benefits? How will people’s lives be improved? What are the interesting, unique or fascinating aspects?
Can you think of amusing anecdotes to share?
Can you do some research to find other aspects you may not have considered?
Try imagining the most enthusiastic person you know delivering a presentation on your topic. What would they say? How would they display their enthusiasm? How would they get the audience to buy into the message?
Whatever the topic - even frozen peas - enthusiasm can capture your audience and get your message across successfully.