Presentation lessons are easy to find.
Enter the term presentation lessons into Google and you will be greeted with 3,030,000,000 results.
If you’re not too keen on searching, presentation lessons abound on TED.
YouTube is a good place to start too.
There are hundreds of extremely helpful articles on our blog page.
What about the presentation lessons your mother, father or guardian taught you when you were ‘knee-high to a grasshopper’. Have you forgotten them?
Here’s a reminder
‘Do your homework’
‘Practice makes perfect’
‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’
‘You can do it’
When you examine these closer you’ll realise how rich the presentation lessons actually were?
Lesson 1. Do your homework
This is where the parental wisdom begins. If you have a presentation to make and you haven’t done your homework you are doing your audience a huge disservice.
Your homework in this context is conducting a full audience analysis before begin crafting your presentation.
Attitude – do your homework and find out as much as you can about:
– How your audience feel now about the issue, topic or idea
– What they would like to feel about it in the future
Understanding – do your homework and find out as much as you can about:
– The level of knowledge and understanding they have now on the issue, topic or idea
Demographics – do your homework and find out as much as you can about:
– Your audience’s occupations
– Their ages
– The culture they work in
Ideal – do your homework and find out as much as you can about:
– What their ideal outcome would look like on the issue, topic or idea
Experience – do your homework and find out as much as you can about:
– Their personal experience on the topic, issue or idea
Needs – do your homework and find out as much as you can about:
– What they need from you to help make their lives better, easier, happier or positively different on the topic, issue or idea
Challenges – do your homework and find out as much as you can about:
– Any specific, personal challenges they face on the topic, issue or idea
Expectations – do your homework and find out as much as you can about:
– What they expect from you having agreed to attend your presentation
Lesson 2. Play nicely
What does that mean in the world of public speaking and presenting.
It means setting a clear intention before you utter a word to:
– Make eye contact
– Be open and expressive
– Find common ground
– Be friendly
– Lighten up
– Be generous with your knowledge and energy
– Make your presentation about them; not yourself
Practice makes perfect
It’s good advice but it’s not entirely true as we know.
What our mother meant was that the more you do it the more familiar it becomes and the easier it gets.
I think what she really intended to say is that ‘ repetition together with reflection is the mother of learning.’
Mother was trying to tell us that nothing is easy the first time we do it but that’s not a reason to give up. Rather than giving up or avoiding the issue the more we do it the more likely we are to get better at it.
When it comes to presenting we have to practice. That doesn’t mean simply reading our notes or slides over and over again. It means practicing speaking it out aloud and getting feedback.
Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Scientists at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management believe that German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s adage that “what does not kill me makes me stronger”, is true.
Mother was right all along.
The thought of presenting and public speaking fills many people with fear and anxiety.
In fact, the fear of public speaking is one of the most common forms of anxiety in the workplace today. There are many solutions to managing and overcoming this fear.
Exploring these with openness and effort is the key to success. The more you do so the more you begin to realise how right mother was. To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever died from their fear of public speaking. Making the conscious effort to overcome the fear inevitably makes you stronger. A really good public speaking coach will guide you to not only feel stronger but ultimately to enjoy presenting and public speaking.
You can do it
Closely aligned to the previous point, mother was right again. You can do and achieve anything you firmly set your mind to.
What mother meant was, if you have something important to say, don’t sell yourself short and Stop playing small.
No one was born a naturally great public speaker. It’s a learned skill.
I love the way Omagbitse Barrow shares his story about this truth in his LinkedIn article.
If you have any interest or desire to develop your public speaking and presentation skills, please believe mother; ‘ You can do it’.
If you’d like to learn how:
– Book yourself onto a powerful public speaking course.
– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.
– Get yourself some excellent presentation training