Most of us welcome the fact that Christmas is just around the corner, and we can’t wait for the big day.
In contrast, most people dread the prospect of having to endure another business presentation. The feeling is often a great deal worse for those who have to give one.
Christmas conjures up an image of glamor, gifts, and goodwill; yet sadly, many presentations today offer a monologue of monotony.
It doesn’t have to be that way, for either you as the speaker or your audience.
The opportunity to present represents a moment to give a gift to your audience. Approaching with an open heart and the intention of making an emotional connection and tangible difference to the lives of your audience will ensure your success.
You don’t have to open each presentation with a chorus of Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas,’ but the following three suggestions will go a long way to making your audience feel happy they came.
1. Make sure the message fits.
Let’s face it: The only thing worse than getting a knitted cardigan from your grandmother at Christmas is getting one that doesn’t even fit. When you are presenting, tailor your message to your audience to ensure that it’s totally relevant and meaningful to them.
As you craft your presentation, keep the following two words in mind throughout: So what?
If your audience refers to any point you make or any slide you show and asks, “So what? Why should I care about that?” you have a really good answer.
2. Pause to allow them to unwrap.
Many presenters believe that to impress an audience they have to tell them as much as they can as quickly as they can.
Each time you share an important point, message, or fact, give your audience the gift of pausing to allow them to absorb what you just said. A moment’s silence is extremely powerful in letting your messages really land with your audience.
3. Presence is your greatest gift.
At Christmas, we give presents. At each presentation, our task is to give our audience our total presence. That means being completely “in the room” with them at all times.
Many presenters begin and continue their presentations whilst being in the room physically, but not necessarily mindfully. In other words, their minds are often too focused on themselves rather than their audience.
Presence is established through focusing exclusively on your audience. One of the best ways of demonstrating that is through making strong eye contact.
Each time you share an important point, message, or fact, deliver it personally to a different member of the audience using your eyes.
It seems to me that one of the many reasons so many of us love Christmas is because it’s the one day of the year that’s different. The rest of the year, we are all busy being on what I call “auto-pilot,” meaning that we are working hard to do our best, but most days are similar. Christmas represents a chance for us all to give the very best of ourselves by focusing on others.
Every presentation should be the same — a moment to brighten up your audience’s day and make it all about them.
Let’s make every presentation feel like Christmas.
Maurice De Castro is a former corporate executive of some of the UK’s best loved brands. Maurice believes that the route to success in any organisation lies squarely in its ability to really connect with people. That’s why he left the boardroom to create a business helping leaders to do exactly that. Learn more at www.mindfulpresenter.com
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