As we enter November, it’s the season of gratitude. And so, I’d like to take this chance, on behalf of listeners everywhere, to give thanks to great presenters.
Thank for you for taking a position rather than simply presenting both sides of the issue and making me decide. As a listener, I like to be led. I like to be challenged. Sure, I may disagree with you. But if you can defend your position, I’ll respect you and see you as a leader. Incidentally, I have a term for speakers who won’t take a stand. I call them “wussies.”
Thank you for telling stories. I’ve never heard a great presentation without stories. When discussing the risks of doing a new deal, don’t just enumerate the possible problems that could arise. Tell me a story about how that very problem occurred in the past and how we can avoid that same problem. That’s interesting. That’s what makes people say, “That was a great presentation.”
Thank you for keeping your messages simple. I’m just a businessperson with average powers of concentration. I’m doing my best to follow you. But I also have other things on my mind, like my own presentation that is due this afternoon. If you can keep your message to a few points, then your presentation will be easy to follow. And I’ll love you like a cousin.
Thank you for not reading your slides. I can read. I don’t need you to read to me. And if I’m stuck in a presentation where someone is reading slides to me, then I fall into a vortex of despair and wonder how I’ve gotten myself in a job where corporate toads read slides to me.
Thank you for your passion and intensity. If you get excited, then I get excited too. Intensity sells. Look at The Home Shopping Network. I once bought a “Fry Daddy” because the pitchman on television was so excited about the onion rings he was cooking that I couldn’t help but pick up the phone and dial. The onion rings were delicious.
Thank you for addressing my needs. See here’s the thing. The only thing I care about are my needs. So, if you’re not addressing my needs, I won’t care about your presentation. If you’re topic is “The Latest Internet Viral Threat” you better focus only on the things that are relevant to my business, like how can I protect myself. Otherwise, I won’t listen. Sound selfish? Sorry. But if I’ve taken the time to attend your presentation and you don’t speak to my needs, then who’s the selfish one?
Thank you for rehearsing. I can always tell if you’ve rehearsed. I can tell if you’ve just flipped through your slides a few times and are “winging it.” And I can tell if you’ve taken the time to go into a conference room and hone your message out loud so that everything comes across smooth like a well-rehearsed play.
Joey Asher has worked with thousands of business people helping them learn how to communicate in a way that connects with clients. His new book 15 Minutes Including Q&A: a Plan to Save the World from Lousy Presentations” is available now. He is also the author three previous books including “How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals That Will Distinguish You from the Competition”, “Selling and Communication Skills for Lawyers” and “Even A Geek Can Speak.”