You can do anything with a group, an audience, a class … except waste their time. So, it was really important to put together a short programme for a single day’s “presenting with influence” training that was exciting, involving and beneficial to the group; all busy people.
I wanted to persuade my students of the need to kick off a presentation as effectively as possible, that famous first impression, and to actually plan to do this – not just to reply on your experience or (bad) habits.
Attention, Benefits, Credibility, Direction
Attention, Benefits, Credibility, Direction – this was the simple model for the first 30 seconds. We experimented with different openings to attract our audience’s attention. These included the subject itself, questions, data/metrics and narrative.
It was equally important to work on delivery and using the video camera allowed us all to see the aspects of presenting that were working well and those areas that still required attention.
We analysed film clips: Vince Vaughn and Kevin James in The Dilemma as well as the late Robin Williams in RV. But cinema is not real so dipping into TED with Simon Sinek also showed what you can do with a flipchart and an idea (worth spreading).
Audience will radically alter how you present but whoever you have in front of you it is still vital to prepare yourself, your content and, as far as possible, the environment.
As a trainer working with adults, all I hope for after a coaching, laboratory session is that those who take part will be curious enough to want to find out more and then to try out what they have learnt – in their reality.
I always encourage participants to use clear, simple language when they speak; to reduce jargon and start their presentation with something the audience will know. Always know WHY you are presenting and make sure you hit those key messages.
Listen to 15 year old activist Greta Thunberg speaking at the 2018 UN Climate Change COP24 Conference.
What can we learn from her?