Extra Time and Effort

Presentations – what if the people making them were required to listen to them first?

I imagine that we would we enjoy a vastly improved performance. We would hear content expressed with clarity, with passion and interest, stripped of extraneous detail, sloppy language, and confusing digressions.

We would be spared meaningless PowerPoint exhibitions.  We would witness a speaker visibly interested in expressing an idea rather than simply enduring a speaking requirement.

It can be done. For instance, most public speaking self-help books suggest the presenter rehearse with a recording device of some sort. This is good advice. Hear yourself as others would and you will realize where you can improve.

If you can use video to capture a rehearsal – the presenter can both see and hear himself before an audience does. The impact can be astonishing. People would get insight into their own habits and expressions:

“I had no idea I did that with my arms!”

“I don’t look like I believe what I’m saying, do I?”

“Wow, do I really talk that fast?”

“You know, I could have sworn I was speaking in complete sentences.”

“Wait a minute, what was my point with that last part?”

“Oh, dear.”

People with good public speaking skills likely rehearsed and realized there was a bit more engineering that needed to be done before they were truly ready to unveil their presentation to the world.

Their reward: A presentation that was complete, compelling, cohesive…able to stand on its own merits, with a delivery that was confident, practiced, well-paced.

As for the audience, they could focus on the value of the message rather than be distracted by the clumsiness of the messenger.  When you plan your next presentation, think not about yourself, or even the details of what you have to say. Think first about your audience and their expectations for a program that satisfies their need for information.

Give your audience reason to remember its message. It’s absolutely worth the extra time and effort.

When Everyone is Depending on You!

Your organization has been talking about doing a big event for a long time and now the date is set.  The committee has picked a speaker, the group has made a list for invitations and now they are about to relax and hand the rest of the details to you.

Welcome to the world of event planning.  It is a place where panic is only relative to how close it is to the big day.  Be organized and don’t procrastinate – it will come back to haunt you later.  Set expectations and then act on them.  Don’t wait too long to ask for help in the areas you need it.  No one can do this job alone, even if it is your responsibility.

Get your team together and strategically distribute activities – and then follow up.  You still have to ensure that the job is done well.  Teamwork is tricky:  people need encouragement, support and sometimes a big push.  Remember to document everything you do, so you can create a template for future events.

Also consider bringing in a facilitator to help with the event.  Sometimes the workload for planning an event is too large to do off the side of your desk.  People may underestimate your regular workload – which doesn’t go away when you are working on the big presentation.  Everyone wants a successful outcome, so in the end, it will be worth the investment.