The secret to presenting well

The secret to presenting well

For the past few years, I’ve done a lot of training at schools, businesses and conferences.  When I first started, I spent hours, days, weeks getting ready for the event.  I researched.  I practiced. I researched some more.  I rewrote the material.  I practiced…  You get the idea.  

Sometimes the material went over well and I was elated.  Sometimes I knew it hadn’t gone well and I needed to regroup and revise.  

Eventually, I learned something that not only shortened my preparation time but also improved my delivery.  It is a very unique but essential way to prepare for an event. Whether you are preparing a workshop, a sales presentation or speaking engagement, this secret will work every time. Want to know the secret?

Spend at least half of  your preparation time preparing for your presence instead of the essence of the message.  

In her ground breaking book, Presence: Bringing your Boldest Self to your Biggest Challenges, Amy Cuddy writes of a young woman who is totally stressed over the preparation of an upcoming talk.  She just can’t seem to get the presentation right despite working diligently on it. Finally she talks to a trusted adviser who tells her,  “Why do you keep preparing for this presentation?  You must know that the most important thing at a presentation is your presence.” With this advice, she realizes that she is no longer benefiting from preparing the message itself.  Instead she needs to focus on preparing her mindset for the delivery of the message. We could all learn from this suggestion.  

How do you prepare your mindset? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Who do I want to be as I deliver the message? Visualize the person you want to embody as you teach or train. Someone who is knowledgeable?  Experienced?  Compassionate?  Humorous? Entertaining? Center yourself in those qualities. 
  • How do I want to feel as I deliver the message? Imagine how you want to feel during the delivery of the message and after.  Confident?  Vivacious? Energetic?  Laid back and calm? Center yourself in those emotions.  
  • What is the one thing I want my audience to remember from my presentation? Don’t fire hose them with too much information. Instead repeat the key thing you want them to retain from your topic. 
  • What is my audience’s call to action in response to the message? How does my message set the stage for this? Determine how you want your audience to feel and respond at the end of your message.  Make sure you give the audience permission and an opportunity to respond in the ways you envision.  

Next time you present a training or make a sales presentation, make sure you spend time on your presence as well as the content of the message.  You will not only notice a significant improvement in the response, you will enter the event with an entirely new mindset as well.

Know a business or school that could benefit from a crucial conversations training program? Let’s talk. Sign up for a clarity call to determine if my program would be a good fit.

Lynne Watts brings excitement and energy into the room as a motivational and engaging speaker. She brings a focus on intentional living that sets the tone for participants to look within themselves to reflect and learn from. She has a relevant perspective to familiar topics. Her engagement with participants is sincere and authentic and, along with her friendly, relaxed manner enables participants to listen and learn easily. Her life experiences are meaningful to the audience and provide a candid look into self for how to make better self-choices and how to be a better team in the workplace. 

~D’Anna Liber DFACS Supervisor, Gwinnett County, Georgia


1 Comment

  1. […] Come to online meetings actively prepared to learn. This is true whether you are presenting or listening or a combination of both. Plan ahead, come ready to be actively involved and set an intention for the meeting. Think about what information you want to walk away with or share with others. […]

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