Preparation and Closing Loops
As a consultant, I often have the opportunity to present and to attend presentations. These may be for everyday meetings, sales pitches, informational sessions, training, special interest groups, industry conferences or other casual events.
Before we get into the meat of the topic, I just want to be clear that this is not meant to focus on PowerPoint presentations, rather on presenting in a general form. So, your presentation may be backed up by PowerPoint, but I aim to address the topic from the angle of preparation, execution and take-away. Also, I am by no means a professional speaker and definitely don’t claim to be a master at this. But, I have some experience and have observed what works for me and other really good speakers at events I have attended. I hope to share this with you from that point of view.
Before I go into the first logical point – preparation – let’s pause to consider those who have never presented before but might need to at some point. There are not many things I have experienced in life that can cause the kind of anxiety that comes from presenting to a group of people for the first time. What causes this? Firstly, the spotlight is on you and it’s like stepping into a boxing ring – once it starts you are on your own. Secondly, whether you know them or not makes no difference for your comfort levels. And finally, you are assumed to be well versed in what you are presenting (not always the case). So, these things can immediately create pressure which won’t help leading up to the moment you need to start. And in my experience, the first 3 or 4 sentences generally set the tone and flow for the rest of the presentation for you and the audience. If your nerves throw you off here, it’s tough to get a flow going. The only way to ease the stress (and it will never go away completely), is to consider the following:
As with most other things in life (interviews/going out/cooking), preparation is the most obvious starting point. But what does it mean to prepare? At a high level it means a few things: Continue reading → Presentations