Put down the bullet points and back away slowly.
You have your reputation and career to think about.
We need to have a long talk about your next presentation.
Who do you think you’re going to impress with those bullet points anyway? Have you ever attended a presentation where a bullet point has kept you fixated?
I thought not.
Got your attention now?
Everything you were about to do would have been a bad experience for everyone concerned.
Most especially YOU!
To prove to you I know what I’m talking about I’m going predict the mistakes you were about to make.
After each prediction I’ll give you an alternative to try.
Bullet point frenzy
Do you have two or more consecutive slides with bullet points only?
Yeah, your audience is going to hate you.
Here’s the thing… your audience uses the slides for a prompt, not you.
Slides filled with bullet points are nothing more than reading-point prompts for the speaker. Audiences inherently know this from the bazillions of awful presentations they’ve attended in the past.
Bullet points are a signal for your audience: switch off, close down, think about what’s for dinner.
Alternative: Learn your speech before you create slides. When you eventually create the slides use images and charts, with minimal to no text, to support your speech rather than drive it.
Got it… You want the speech to be perfect.
You’ve practiced and practiced and practiced some more.
You’re almost there! Just got to smooth out a couple more rough patches!
I’ll let you in on a little secret: The more perfect you try to be the further away you get from perfection.
Kind of like that hot guy or girl… The more you chase, the further away they run.
Chasing perfection is the same.
You’ll never deliver a perfect presentation. Something will always go wrong. You might remember every word of your speech, but the delivery of those words won’t be perfect.
Practice for perfection and by the time you get on stage you’ll sound robotic.
Alternative: Understand your content well and practice talking about your content until you feel comfortable you can get the point across you need to make. Once you’re on stage if you make a mistake or forget something remember that the audience didn’t know what you were going to say anyway, so just move on.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t have much time to prepare.”
“I apologize, this is the first time I’ve presented to an audience this size.”
When you apologize the audience instantly loses confidence in anything you say from that point.
If your presentation is an effort to convince the audience of something, you’ve probably failed already.
Apologizing is self-indulgent. You apologize in the hope the audience is going to go easier on you.
Alternative: Don’t apologize. Suck it up and deliver the presentation. Instead of focusing on mistakes you might make, focus on getting the point across to the audience.
As convincing as facts, figures, and logic are, your audience is not going to buy-in on these alone.
You think your logic is open and shut.
The audience need to accept the new procedures in your presentation because that’s the only way forward for the company. The extra work in the new procedures is what will pay the bills.
It’s obvious, right???
Your audience can understand your logic. They can appreciate what is best for the company.
BUT… That doesn’t mean they automatically buy-in to your presentation. That doesn’t mean they will start working on the new procedures.
To avoid your audience being resistant, you have to connect with them at a level beyond simple logic.
Alternative: Connect with your audience emotionally. Empathize with the extra work or learning they may now have to do. Frame the changes you are proposing so they can see the benefits for them.
Making it all about you
The audience are not there to hear about you.
They don’t care what “you” want or what “you” need.
When you practice your speech, record yourself.
Playback the recording back and consider the number of times you say “I”.
If the number feels unusually high, you’ve got a problem. Cut out the excessive “I’s” or your presentation is unlikely to be well received.
Alternative: Take all the utterances with “I” and restructure the sentences to focus on “you” (the audience). The audience will be more receptive when they feel you are talking to them.
What do you think? Let’s catch up and chat in the comments below…