I’ve delivered hundreds of hours of presentations.
I’ve watched hundreds of hours of pros, amateurs, and trainees deliver presentations.
From all those hours, there is one thing that stands out a the most important part of a presentation.
And it’s a secret most people will never discover. Even though it’s right in front of us all.
It’s not gestures, eye contact, slides, content, or even opening with a super-cool message.
It’s more important than having a logically laid-out presentation.
It’s even more impactful than having a slick take-home message that the audience can’t resist.
It’s your relationship with the audience.
Doesn’t matter how logical and sound your message is if your relationship sucks…
Doesn’t matter how smooth you talk, and how expressive your gestures are…
Doesn’t even matter if your message benefits the audience…
If your relationship with the audience is awful, nothing else matters.
“It’s the relationship, stupid.” 🙂
Let’s put that in the context of dating.
Imagine Desperate Bob approaches Smiling Susie at a bar.
Desperate Bob kicks off the conversation with an high-impact opener and gets Susie’s attention. Desperate Bob is not much to look at but Susie thinks he might be an interesting guy.
Desperate Bob continues on to talk logically about what he needs from a potential relationship, his life goals, even how many kids he wants to have.
He finishes his talk with a call to action, announcing that a decision is required soon because there are plenty of other potential mates in the bar.
Scowling Susie picks up her purse and walks away from Desperate Bob, leaving him to be desperate on his own.
Desperate Bob just did what most of us do when we deliver presentations: Talk “at” the audience and focus 100% on reaching our goal.
It doesn’t matter how good his message was, the relationship has to be good or he may as well speak to the wall.
Here’s how to have a better relationship with your audience:
- Understand them before you plan your presentation
- Interact with them when you are on stage
- Talk conversationally, avoid lecturing
- Be yourself, be genuine (don’t try to mimic a TED talk you’ve seen it will come off as fake)
What do you think?