Where to stand in relation to the screen. During the courses I ran a few weeks ago in New Jersey, I was asked by delegates where the screen should be and where should the presenter should stand. Firstly, we recommend that the screen is in the centre of the audience’s focus, and not off to one side, even though some AV and set designers like this layout. You need to make sure that as many of the audience as possible can clearly see most or all of the screen. Continue reading →
Last week I gave a presentation to an ISMM (Institute of Sales and Marketing Management) group in Leeds, UK. I haven’t done any of these for a while so was pretty critical of my performance afterwards. I debriefed with a colleague on the way home, too long, too slow, too many jokes. Lots of engagement afterwards but that’s to be expected when you’ve just removed somebodies crutch they need to understand how to walk again and want help.
Today I got the feedback from the audience: Continue reading →
In anticipation of a new blog.. here is one I wrote in 2009.. watch this space.. comments please!
- Don’t use speaker notes.
- Don’t write scripts.
- Don’t wear white socks.
- Why? Because you will come across as an amature!
Occasionally when presenters use a script they end up concentrating on it more than on the audience, which is a recipe for disaster. Presentations need to be dynamic and audience-centered. A script, almost by definition, prevents dynamism by compelling you to follow it. Therein lies the real problem.. Continue reading →
Never underestimate mans’ ability to use fuzzy logic.
Just because good presenters are confident, does not imply that confidence makes good presenters. And yet most people, most presentation skills courses and, regrettably, most presentation coaches believe this to be true.
It is in fact a lie. Clearly a complete lack of confidence is a bad thing, but so too is complete confidence.
Darwin on presentations
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge”
The confidence you derive from a well thought out, well prepared, well rehearsed presentation is seductive to audiences, but the confidence felt out of inflated self-belief is often perceived as arrogance.
I watched another presentation coach “help” a presenter. This consisted of a series of platitudes and sycophantic ramblings that had as much to do with massaging the coach’s ego as that of the presenter. While the exchange was enjoyed by both, I’m pretty confident it did nothing for the audience that had to sit through that presentation. Which, as far as I could tell, was just as bad as it was before the coaching–but now it would be presented with an air of arrogant self confidence instead of the (quite rightly) caution that it wasn’t really good enough.
Advice is cheap
But good advice is invaluable (as it is rare.)
For what its worth, my advice is that there is a time and place for boosting confidence and that time and place is after the hard work of producing a good presentation has been done.
- Know your audience
- Know your material
- Know how to engage your audience
- Know how to interact with your audience
- Practice the delivery
The confidence you get from this will see you through the event. Its ok to feel anxious, use it to fuel your performance. Anyone who says they don’t feel scared before presentations is either lying or dead.
Confidence is a double-edged sword, too little or too much can kill a performance. To quote Bertrand Russell,
“Those who feel certainty, are stupid.”
To misquote Bertrand Russell,
“Those who feel absolute confidence, are stupid”
What do you think? Ever seen a supremely confident presenter deliver a supremely bad presentation?
Right Pitch, Right Time!
First, let me pose a question. Think back to the last time you purchased something that involved choosing between two suppliers. How about a kitchen or a carpet? Did you confuse the need to buy this item with the choice of who to buy it from? “I haven’t spoken to Bob for a while, what can I buy off him? Oh, I need a new carpet” is, let’s face it, an unusual train of thought. The normal thinking process would be: decide I need something, decide what I need, then select the vendor.
When we are doing an m62 STAT project we often run up against this issue; salespeople prepare presentations and don’t recognize that the first question that needs to be asked is, “What are we selling and to whom?” For example, I am working on a pitch for a client in the IT sector, who is hoping to be selected when a client outsources a critical part of their IT infrastructure. One option is for the audience of this pitch to do nothing (i.e. not to outsource at all), however, a more likely option is to select a partner and outsource it to one of four companies who are capable of doing it. Continue reading →