Congratulations! You or your firm made it to the short list. It’s between you and who-knows-how-many other folks who do the voodoo you do. Woo-hoo! Let the fun begin. Or maybe not? You may have anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours to give your presentation. Ugh. How do you convince anyone of anything in 30 minutes? You may have anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks to create and rehearse your presentation. Rehearse? You mean “talk about it in the car on the way over.” Input? If it’s a team presentation, and you’re in charge of pulling the pitch….
Don’t get me wrong. Despite my rants about the power of emotion, I don’t hate facts and logic. Facts, studies, numbers, step-by-step logical explanations and reasons are the go-to, default tool we all use whenever we need to support a recommendation, make a point, justify a decision, sell an idea. Facts are my friends, honest. However–you knew that was coming, right?–facts are not necessarily the slam dunk, double dog sure way to get the response you’re looking for. Why? Because facts can be cold and preachy. Numbers, percentages–even when presented as pie charts–can be mind numbing. Statistics? Don’t get me started…..
“Are there any questions?” That’s how most people close a presentation, pitch or meeting. It’s seems perfectly natural. If there was something that wasn’t quite clear, the Q&A is the perfect time for you to clarify. You don’t want to leave them confused. No way, not you. Or, perhaps a question might spark more discussion. They want you to go into more depth. That feels good, doesn’t it? You get to show off a little bit right there at the end, speaking extemporaneously about things you didn’t have time to include in the first part. If you’re presenting at a….
I spoke at a marketing conference about three years ago and recently got a call from the new conference committee chair . Apparently someone who heard me speak back then was now on the 2011 committee, and she recommended bringing me back. “Have you got any new material?” the committee chair asked me. Yes, I did, but I hesitated telling him so. I had just been chatting with a colleague about the notion that for a presentation to be worthwhile it has to be full of new, never-heard-before information, and I didn’t want to reinforce that notion. The colleague I….
After I was selected to make a 20/20 Lightening Round presentation at the National Speakers Association annual convention this month, it made me realize how much CAN be said in a short amount of time. If you focus, rehearse, re-focus, reject, revise and rehearse a whole lot more. Context? The Lightening Round is a 6-minute, 40 second presentation that consists of 20 slides that automatically advance every 20 seconds. Whether you are ready are not. You can decide if I was or wasn’t right here.
We’ve all been there. You’ve suffered through a meeting or presentation where a rambling, all-over-the-place, disjointed, thinking-out-loud, more-likely-than-not rushed person tries to tell, sell or convince of you something. And ‘fess up, you’ve done it yourself to others when making presentations. As I mentioned last month, the universal problem when it comes to so-called presentation skills is that we just have too much stuff inside our heads. (Actually, it applies to most communication.) We think surely, if we just get enough stuff out of our heads and into the listener’s ears, something relevant will click or stick. They will see….