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?”
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.