Just Forget about Presenting…And Think About ConnectingMay 12, 2014 | By Wayne O'Neill
You’ve probably read a thing or two about effective presenting, or have some of your own opinions or strategies for effective presenting. In my opinion, all styles of presenting work. I don’t believe in presentation protocol, I believe in you getting up there in front of people and being true to yourself.
Authenticity is Priority #1
When I’m in front of the camera for one of our RESET video blogs, I’m trying to be who anyone would experience me to be in person. It’s crucial for me to not only feed the viewer information about our practice and methodology, but to also be ME. The issue with presentations is that the focus is on presenting, rather than connecting with the crowd. If you’re picturing the audience in their underpants to ease your nerves, your presentation isn’t matching the quality and attention you would give to a one-on-one conversation. You’re disallowing connection with any of those individuals.
When we’re producing our videos, we’re finding out how to push out a specific message out while giving our audience a better understanding as to what it is like to be coached by me. It’s about the message and it’s about the way we script it, but it’s also about the choreography—my camera presence. Clients always want to know what it will be like to work with me. They’re aware that in the process of trying to win them as a client, I’m putting on my best clothes and putting my best foot forward, and they’re just trying to see that two seconds of who I am beneath all of that.
I want to make sure I don’t work too hard to cover that up. Before the camera starts rolling (…Or sometimes—after it’s already begun. Blooper scenes cost extra.) You’ll find me goofing around, telling jokes and being my silliest, most authentic self. I’m very serious about the craft that we do, but at my core, I’m a goofball. When I’m preparing for a presentation it’s important for me to act that way beforehand, so that my personality will shine through in more subtle ways during the video.
Importance of a disciplined narrative
I frequently and shamelessly indulge in my fair share of TED Talks. What I get from those videos is this: A story should be like any Disney movie. It has emotion, it slowly pulls you in, there’s conflict, there’s stress, and then there’s resolution. It hooks you in with intrigue, but it keeps a hold of you by the heart strings.
That’s how you spread ideas that resonate with people and that’s what makes any presentation component effective. It’s a Disney movie. It’s like religious parables. This type of storytelling is deep within our human nature, and goes back as far as we can dig up in history. Don’t fight that. Use it.
Don’t leave them guessing
Don’t let people guess the punch line. They shouldn’t have to work that hard. Allusions and subtleties make for intriguing storytelling, but you’ve got to drive your point home. Be direct. Tell them, “What I want you hear is this….” or “This is how I connect the dots with what I’m trying to communicate…” Don’t make them guess your point, it leaves room for error.
When people make presentations, they want to give the breadth of their knowledge. What your goal should be is to make your point very clear. What you’ve been saying throughout your talk could have been missed by someone in the audience—whether it’s because they can’t relate to your narrative or because they’re thinking about what they’re having for lunch. We’ve all been there, so make it easy for them. In the off chance they haven’t understood what you’re getting at, lay it down like this:
Here’s the bottom line…
Be YOU. Let that shine through—it makes you and your way of presenting more interesting.
Think like a storyteller. Focus on a narrative, rather than sharing the breadth of your knowledge on every slide in the deck.
Be direct about the message you would like for the audience to take away.