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September 26, 2016
When It Comes To Presenting, Understanding Doesn’t Equal Remembering
 
A common misconception amongst presenters is that if they have an interesting message and deliver it clearly and confidently, their audience will not only understand it — they will remember and act on it.

Not necessarily.

The distinction between understanding something on an intellectual level and connecting to the message emotionally is significant, and it’s the latter that always leads to remembering and acting.

Very few presentations don’t contain a goal of leading the audience to some form of change, be it mindset, belief, or behavior. While change may be the fundamental premise of any presentation, it’s often compromised by too strong a desire to impress the audience with how much the presenter knows.

Many of us have attended presentations where we understood much of what was said and yet left the room forgetting most of what we heard before we even got back to our desks.
The following three tips will go a long way towards ensuring you present your message with clarity and impact in a way your audience will remember.

1. Go deep.
You will have seen for yourself that many business presentations are given more as lectures than memorable conversations. In other words, the presenter unleashes a wealth of data, information, and insights in the naïve belief that that their audience will just “get it.”

When people are challenged to think through ideas and concepts for themselves, they are far more likely to understand and remember what it is you have to say than when they just listen to you say it.

Ask them questions. Involve them as much as you can by leading activities that give them space to really focus and reflect on your point.

2. Don’t be a comedian.
I’m not referring to losing your sense of humor, but simply not making the same mistake many presenters do, which is to leave the punchline to the end.

Your message needs to be delivered right up front, clearly and passionately. Everything you say, show, and do from that point on must support your message and give it life.

3. Go to connect.
At Mindful Presenter, we have an unshakeable belief that “connecting is everything,” especially when we are presenting an idea to an audience. We can’t connect with an audience by dumping data on them and drowning them in facts. Connections are achieved by:
  • Showing your audience you are the same as them; what you have in common
  • Putting yourself in their shoes and letting them see you understand them
  • Respecting their time and getting to the point
  • Telling them something they don’t already know or that you can’t just send in an email
  • Bringing your message to life through telling stories
  • Making a difference to their personal or professional lives
Presentations offer the perfect platform to make a difference to an audience, and I often believe that all a presenter really needs to remember is this quote:

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Maya Angelou

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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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