I LOVE making presentations! When presenting, I believe it is really going to add value to people and help the organization move forward… or I won’t do it.
I know that not everyone has the natural gift of gab. But everyone will be called on to present his or her ideas in a compelling way. How about a SUPER-GOOD TIP to get you started?
Friends, the beginning is by far the most important part of your presentation. Here’s why.
IF YOU CAPTURE THE ATTENTION OF YOUR AUDIENCE in the first 15 seconds, you are going to win. If not, you are going to lose. Every person there will either begin to engage or will begin to check out. If you’re like me, in most presentations I (mentally or physically) reach for my cell phone.
ARE YOU READY FOR THE TIP? HERE IT IS: In the beginning,
Don’t Be Nice!
What?!!! Seriously?! Dr. Rob, what does that even mean?
Dude, (or dudette), I’m absolutely serious—you must do this, let me prove it to you!
Here are two different openings, you tell me which one YOU want to listen to (A or B):
A. “First, I want to thank my boss for allowing me to make this presentation. I’m nervous about it, but I know that I have the support I need. And next, I want to thank you for being here. Your attendance today proves that you want to stay informed and keep growing. So, I am very thankful for this opportunity and I really hope that it will be helpful, and won’t be boring, LOL.”
(By this time people have looked intently at the screen of their cell phones, pretending to need to respond to a very important message.)
OK, here is a different approach…
B. “18 months ago, it was discovered that a person whom I know very well was not who people thought that he was. To most people he seemed pretty normal but, it ended up, that there was an increasing darkness on his inside that had been slowly eating away at his hope and his identity for years. In a moment of desperation, scared to death that he was going to be discovered for who he really was, he did something that he thought he would deeply regret. Instead, it has helped him come out of hiding, deal with the real issue, and find a new hope that he didn’t think was even possible. … [long pause] … That person was me.”
While that personal illustration might be too intense, it proves my point. A short opening with TENSION IS NEEDED to captures people’s attention!
Let’s look at another short example that is not as extreme or compelling. Let’s suppose that is was as simple as getting people to pay attention during a finance meeting:
A. "I really appreciate you being here. Hey, I know that looking at the numbers is not the most exciting part of your day, but we need to do it, so let’s get through it as quickly as we can, so we can get back to our other work. If you will all pay attention for just a little while, we should be able to get through this quickly.”
[I don’t know about you, but I would hate to attend that meeting!] How about this:
B. “The people who don’t believe in you, and our competitors have something in common. That commonality is totally opposite, in fact it’s diametrically opposed to the hopes of our families, our colleagues, and our friends. You see, we are about to talk about finances. Guess what? Our competitors and enemies hope that we roll our eyes, get distracted, and get out of here as quickly as possible. But our families, our coworkers and the other people who care about us… they hope we get this right! They hope we engage, have healthy conflict and bring our very best to the table in the next 45 minutes. We’re going to be here either way… so let’s jump in with both feet and make certain that we get this right!”
Tension keeps Attention!
Get that phrase way down into your brain and never forget it. Start your presentation with a little tension, and people will look forward to your next presentation.
Please share this with someone you know who will benefit because a friend cared enough to forward a really helpful thought.
More next week.
Until then: Much Love, I’m Out!
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