3 Presentation Tips To Connect With The Toughest Audience

4 min read · 7 years ago



Have you ever prepared for an important presentation in the full knowledge that your audience is not only a highly intelligent, talented and creative group of people but that most of them have far more experience than you of the topic you are about to speak on?

If you have then you’ll know that it’s not only really daunting but it can leave you feeling anxiously exposed and vulnerable.  It can sometimes feel that despite your extensive knowledge and passion you can’t help but feel that you’re about to be ‘found out’, that the world will finally see that you’re not quite as good as you think you are.

At Mindful Presenter we believe in leading by example, which means that our workshops are far more than workshops, they are presentations too.  In other words, we don’t just share theory we show you how to present by presenting ourselves which sometimes creates quite an interesting challenge.

As you may imagine, we may be leading a room full of delegates who have vastly more experience in terms of just the number of years they have been presenting than our coaches have.

For some people it can be quite intimidating, but it’s not for us.

Whether you’ve been presenting for 30 years, teaching for 30 years, or laying bricks for 30 years, it may make you ‘experienced’ but it doesn’t make you the best or an expert.  In fact, it’s often the case that you may actually have been doing exactly the same thing in the same way every year for 30 years and there’s a far more effective way. When it comes to presenting, in our business, we see highly experienced presenters in extremely high level positions presenting every day.  When you ask them their opinion on presenters who read slides fraught with text they often agree that it’s a mortal sin.  Yet, that’s exactly what they do every day themselves and some have been doing it for many years.

It’s not about how long you’ve been doing something or even your intellectual understanding of the way it should be done that counts!  It’s the way you actually do it and your emotional knowing that it’s a highly effective way that matters. That together with an open mind and being prepared to be challenged and stretched despite your experience is what makes all the difference.

Every audience regardless of age, intellect, status, or experience needs three things from you, the presenter. Unless you give them all three you’re unlikely to make a genuine and lasting connection.

1. They need the facts

Whatever your message and whatever your purpose you need to give them the facts and you need to do so clearly and swiftly.  Most presentations are designed to influence some action aligned to a specific result.  Unless you instill confidence in your audience by giving them the relevant detail you won’t achieve that goal.  They need to understand the logic behind your message, see the data or evidence, and they need you to bring all of that to life with clear and colorful examples of what you mean.

You need to show them the features, the benefits and if you have case studies or even props to show them you’ll win over their left brains.

2. They need to feel something

Whether your message is designed to inform, educate, entertain or inspire them your number one priority, once you have your facts straight, is to help them feel something.  That means connecting with them on an emotional level.  You can do that through telling them true, relevant, and powerful stories, using anecdotes and metaphors and making your presentation thought provoking.

Humor, surprise, and even a little suspense can each serve you well in moving them to action through getting them to feel something rather than just passively listen and acknowledge.

3. They need to see the future

Nearly 30 years ago a former boss and mentor of mine once told me something I have not only never forgotten but have used to extraordinary effect over the years,

‘The only people who need to be motivated are the people who can’t see a future.’

Whilst I didn’t realise or appreciate it in the moment they have probably been the most impactful words ever shared with me apart from my wife saying, ‘I do.’ I believe that those words are critically important for every presenter as it’s our job to help our audience see the future.

We need to share a compelling vision and give them the big picture of how our message will really help them and the difference it will make to their personal or professional lives. That picture needs to be crystal clear too.

If your presentation isn’t designed to make a difference then you shouldn’t be wasting their time, you should simply send them the information or idea in an email or document instead and ask them to call you if they have any questions.

If you give them the facts, help them to feel something, and help them to really see the future, it doesn’t matter who they are or how much they already know. They will thank you and be grateful they came.

This article was originally posted on Mindful Presenter.

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: 3 Presentation Tips To Connect With The Toughest Audience

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