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Don’t read a Book Report

The higher up you go in an organization, the more you are expected to be able to make a polished, professional presentation.  Not only do I make presentations in a variety of settings, to a wide range of audiences, and for a wide array of purposes; I also work with people to make them more effective presenters.

There are many things that make people cringe, but nothing strikes fear into the heart of the average professional more than knowing that they are expected to deliver a talk. Everyone wants to do well. So why don’t they?

  • Training: Some people don’t get any training at all. The attitude seems to be that polished presentation skills comes with the job title. Nothing could be further from the truth.
  • Wrong Focus: We all think we see the world pretty clearly. But we only see if from our vantage point. And we are not the people who are sitting in the audience. The focus should be on what the audience wants to hear or what we want the audience to think, feel, or do.
  • Hip Shooters: You can immediately tell the difference between the speaker who is shooting from the hip and the speaker who has planned and prepared their talk. It’s obvious – and sometimes painfully so.
  • I’m Me: Speakers don’t get slammed for looking too polished, but they do when they look dull. We make an impression on people before we open our mouth to say a word bu how we look. What are YOU saying?
  • Practice: The reason actors rehearse is to work out the timing, fine tune, projection, and catch mistakes in private. A run through can help you with timing, working, use of audio visual aids and props. You can tell who has practiced and hones their skills and who didn’t care enough before the presentation has ended.
  • ZZZZZZ: When people ask you to present, they are interested in what you have to say, NOT how well you read your notes or the slides. Your energy, knowledge, and passion for the subject should come through. When you read, you rush through, often in a monotone.

Remember when kids got up in front of the class to read their book reports? No one really wants to hear a book report read to out loud.  It wasn’t interesting in the 3rd grade – and it’s not any more enjoyable or captivating now!

Learn how to make a better presentation. Everyone who listens to you will thank you.

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 12th, 2011 at 9:03 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.