I learned three things from a speaker I heard at a workshop:
- Your credibility (and that of the company you represent) is on the line each time you speak.
- You may be full of passion, have a wealth of knowledge, and be the best at what you do, but this will be lost if you lack the skills to present these ideas.
- Your competitors gain when you have weak presentation skills.
While this was not her topic, this was the message she delivered. And she delivered it effectively and definitively.
It was very simple what she did and I am sure you could do this too (if you really want to). Here is how:
Start with a weak opening
- “I am sorry but I am not used to this microphone – can you hear me?”
- “The bathrooms are located…”
- Talk about yourself and why you are qualified to speak
Demonstrate that your slides are more important than the audience
- “If this was a smaller group, we would have time for you to talk and share. But since it is so large, I want to make sure we have time to go through all the slides”.
- Speak non-stop for an extended period of time.
Say things that demonstrate you are not prepared
- “Is the mic working?”
- “wow – I have never seen that slide before”
- “This group is larger than I expected “ (even though many seats were empty)
Demonstrate carelessness and lack of preparation:
- Have your cell phone ring during the presentation.
- Once it rings, dig through your bag to find it (curse for added effect)
Use poorly designed slides
- “I know you won’t be able to read this but…”
Yes – the speaker really did all these things (and more) in one presentation. While her words told a story of the great services her company offers, her actions left a different impression.
Regardless how much new business her company may have gained as a result of this presentation, they would have gained more if they backed up their superior product with a professional presentation that enhanced their credibility. At the end of the presentation, there were still a lot of “undecided” prospects -there was still a lot of money on the table.
I hope you do better in your presentations than this woman and that you better match the words you say with the message you deliver.
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