At this point, perhaps I tweaked your interest. But in the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll admit, the title was a hook and one that electronic communication SMEs say often works with newsletters, emails and most importantly from a career perspective – your presentations.
Forging audience engagement from the moment they sit down to the last words out of your mouth has never been so important yet never been so hard to accomplish.
As we speak, the latest LinkedIn newsletter in my Inbox touts “11 Simple Concepts”, “3 Things I’ve Learned”, “10 Things to Do” and “16 Terms to Describe”. So it prompts the question… what’s with the number thing?
The prevailing wisdom is that our fellow human beings want things simple. They want easily digestible steps and well-defined rules to follow. Why? For one simple reason…people are crazy busy and they don’t have time to distill messages out from a sea of generalized content. So they want us to do it for them.
Makes sense when you think about it. If this piece was titled One Long Rambling Monologue for Being an Adequate Presenter, you probably wouldn’t have made it this far. You would have had to do all the work and for a very questionable payoff.
So let’s talk about that “payoff” thing.
Behind every presentation we deliver there is an implied deal we make with our audiences . And if you aren’t making this commitment in the first 30 seconds – you should be. They have taken time out of their busy schedules to be there. You need to provide them clear value for that investment and do it quickly.
For this reason, I believe in a simple 30-second opening positioning statement at the front end of every presentation that includes who I am and what this time will mean to you, the audience.
I’m here today to share some ideas about how your company can address your current building inefficiency issues and how you can use those same actions to meet your 2020 energy goals.
Why bother? Sometimes people get pulled into a meeting or presentations without much context… or the session agenda has not been well communicated. Everyone will not arrive at the end together unless they all start together.
But starting strong is not enough – you need to deliver on your promise.
Very few presenters close well. Running out of slides is a horrible reason for your presentation to end and you will have broken your promise to your audience. Here are some ideas… signal your close (‘As I wrap up today’) and take a couple small steps to the front of the room. These tiny things re-energize attention levels at a very critical moment.
Now that you’ve moved into the close, don’t make this mistake. If your close is a long, drawn-out monologue, you’re forcing your audience to do all the work again and don’t expect them to be happy about that. Call out just a few very simple takeaways and do it in 60-seconds or less. (These things shouldn’t come as a surprise to them!)
Here’s the litmus test… when you’re done, if they can’t repeat those specific things right back to you in 20-seconds – you didn’t deliver them well.
So here’s my simple close…
Point #1 – Don’t underestimate the power of a title. It can mean the difference between 20 and 200 people in your audience.
Point #2 – Start with a simple opening positioning statement. It’s the promise you’re making with your audience and you better deliver.
Point #3 – Simple closes make audiences happy. And long, linear monologue summaries aggravate them. Give them just a few simple things delivered on a platter and in 60-seconds or less. (Not 5-6 rambling minutes.)
What your presentation promises to do matters and audiences will hold you to it. And when you start strong and end strong – you’ve conquered the two most important elements of presenting – expectations and outcomes. If you execute well, you both win. If you don’t, you both lose.
Present with purpose. Present with passion.