Do you enjoy most business presentations you attend?
For decades presenting in business meetings has been far too lacklustre. I’m generalising of course, although I’m not exaggerating.
At Mindful Presenter we see evidence of this every week.
Despite the widely acclaimed power of storytelling, presence and mindfulness professionals still insist on donning their corporate spokesperson cloaks. The result of which is that many lose their sense of selves and tell their audience what they could have read in a fraction of the time for themselves. Far too often they also tell them what they already know.
This article is part of the series of The A to Z of Mindful Presenting. It presents the truth about presenting and public speaking in terms of what our audiences truly want from us.
To understand the truth, you need to see what we see; here are just two very recent examples. There are plenty more where these came from. As well as in-house presentation skills courses, public speaking training and one to one coaching we also offer a ‘Free Review.’ This is where we spend a couple of hours in one of your business meetings observing your team presenting to each other. This unique presentation skills appraisal is designed to give you a clear, independent and professional insight into how effectively your team communicates their ideas.
Example 1 – The sleep chamber
– Fourteen senior managers crammed around a table that was so small that not everyone could fit around it.
– Most of them have travelled long distances to attend the gathering in London; one flew from Ireland.
– PowerPoint slides shared which are documents, reports or spreadsheets. In other words; ‘Death by PowerPoint.’
– Each manager taking it in turns to read his report out aloud to the rest of the room.
– Everyone stayed seated, no one looked up from their reports, everyone sounded exactly the same; depressed.
Example 2 – The long, slow walk
– Ten head of departments and executives seated comfortably around a huge mahogany board table in a state of the art room.
– A laptop positioned at one end of the long table.
– Managers taking it in turns to get up and walk to the laptop to sit down again and begin presenting.
– Every presenter reading every word from the screen.
– Every now and then someone waiting outside of the meeting room being beckoned in to present.
– Each newcomer enters the meeting room, stands still, then takes the long slow walk to the chair. They look like they are taking their final walk.
If not, then count yourself extremely lucky because this is more than common; it’s epidemic.
In both examples I witnessed a room full of highly intelligent, responsible and talented senior managers demonstrate 5 things:
– Their ability to read.
– Their ability to sound the same as each other.
– Their ability to talk for too long about information most of the room aren’t interested in.
– Their ability to craft complex slides and compete to see who could have the most bullet points.
– Their disregard for the feelings of fellow human beings.
– This is happening in meetings rooms across the globe every day.
– No one wants it, needs it or has time for it, yet they are forced to endure it.
– Most business presentations and meetings could be done in half the time.
– Most attendees will forget 90% of what you’ve shared with them by the time they return to the desk.
– The human mind is conditioned to wander at least half of the time so they aren’t listening to you anyway.
– The only reason they are happening is because ‘that’s what we’ve always done.’
– Far too many professionals are on ‘auto-pilot’; in other words, presenting through habit.
– Most people don’t like presenting in the first place.
– Most people dread attending presentations.
– What we are doing to each other in these meetings simply doesn’t work and is doing more harm than good.
There is another way.
Many years ago, a former mentor of mine once said to me: ‘You know Maurice, truth is like the centre of town. It doesn’t matter what road you take to get there; the centre of town is the centre of town’.
The truth is very simple when it comes to presenting and public speaking but it takes mindfulness and courage.
All your audience want from you is:
– For you to capture and keep their attention, interest and curiosity.
– For you to cut out the ‘noise’ by making sure that everything you say and show to them is relevant and valuable.
– For you NOT tell them things they already know, could easily find out or read for themselves.
– For you to respect and value their time and give them something worthwhile in return for it.
– For you to ditch the data, stop making them work so hard and to get to the point.
– To be yourself not like everyone else.
– To connect with them emotionally as well as intellectually; to make them feel something.
Being professional doesn’t mean we have to be deadly serious, boring and repetitive when presenting. The truth is that all your audience really wants from you is to tell them something that really matters in a way that demonstrates that you care.
Connecting is everything.
I really hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please feel free to share it through your preferred social media channels below and subscribe to our mailing list so you won’t miss any future posts.
If this article has inspired you to learn a little more about how effective your presentation skills are you may want to take a look at our presentation training and presentation coaching pages to see how we may be able to help you. You will also find a great deal of really helpful ‘free’ information in our Learning Centre.
Image courtesy of: istockphoto.com