Golden Visions and Associates | Coaching for Success
Thought for the Week
Your Success Thought for the Week of September 22, 2010
Seven Ways To Blow A Presentation

Clients share hilarious things they've done in presentations that have turned their good intentions into complete disasters.  Granted, at the time these tragedies weren't all that funny.  But in debriefing, one can either laugh or beat themselves up.  I find the former approach to be far more effective in moving forward.

Even a seasoned professional can get off course.  My goal for you is to provide you with tips to prevent 'presentation' disasters of your own.  If one of these scenarios sounds familiar, please chalk it up to learning the hard way and know that you will do better next time.

Seven ways to blow a presentation:

1.      Assume you know it all:You've given similar presentations numerous times over the years.  Why change now?  You know your stuff.  Believe me; if you're bored with your material, your audience will be doubly bored.  Fire it up with new facts, stories or metaphors. It's exhilarating to see a presenter who is genuinely excited about what they have to share with their audience.  

 2.      Don't practice, you're already good enough:  How many presenters have you seen debilitated by having their Power Point fail.  A client of mine has seen former Secretary of State Colin Powell speak three times. Each time Powell was flawless; his presentation calm and fresh as if it was the very first time he presented this information. No doubt Powell has spent hours upon hours rehearsing to make it look spontaneous.

 3.      Arrive late; they'll wait for you:  Client Sasha is notoriously late (we're working on that.)  Normally calm and confident, she is immediately flustered when entering a room after a meeting has begun.  This is intensified when she is the presenter.  Papers go flying as she tries to inconspicuously rush to her open seat.  She's coming from a weak position before she even begins.  

4.      Trust that the facility will meet your needs:  I once arrived at a conference  to speak in the first session after lunch.  The room was hot, dirty dishes still on the tables, water had not been freshened since morning sessions.  Had I visited the facility the day before or even that morning, I could have made requests to arrange a more conducive setting. If you'll be presenting in a new space, come earlier to check out the sound system, room, and seating logistics. 

 5.      Assume you know the audience:   Every audience is different.  Client Matthew is in the medical profession, speaking on similar topics to physicians throughout the country. His presentations in Boston are quite different than in Palm Desert, right down to the way he dresses and examples he provides.  Know what will work or what may be a taboo for your specific audience. One oversight can ruin the essence of your entire speech.

 6.      Don't ask for feedback: It's impossible for us to see how we come off on stage, even if it is taped.  You still don't get the same sensation as being in an audience.  Clients often ask me to come to their presentations to provide feedback.  These are individuals who are eager to grow and get better each time.  If we don't ask for feedback, we could be making the same mistakes over and over again.  Toastmasters or Speaking Circles are excellent ways to solicit quality feedback.  If you don't have time for those great organizations, then simply ask someone you trust.

 7.      Don't bother with Thank You's:  I attended a workshop recently where I was appreciative of the speaker's brilliance and willingness to share.  As I approached him afterward to thank him, he beat me to the punch and thanked me for my insightful questions.  He said the questions gave more depth to his presentation.  Not only brilliant, he was genuinely appreciative.  I became an instant fan and will likely purchase anything he writes in the future. 

There is not enough gratitude in this world.  After your presentations, thank everyone who contributed from the individual who invited you to speak to any researchers, editors, proof readers, etc.  Your ideas come from somewhere. Thank that source. 

No matter what you are doing, you are likely in front of the public and have room to improve your delivery along with your message.  Your audience will appreciate your efforts to continually grow and become better tomorrow than you were yesterday. 

Our website is there for you 24/7 with information and articles to help you become better at any thing you desire.  Isn't that what a rewarding life is all about--the fun of continual  growth and change?  Check it out: GVA Success

If you are challenged with this concept of 'perfecting your presentation skills,' begin with taking small steps.  Hire one of our coaches to guide you.  At GV&A, we have a variety of skilled, talented, certified coaches to serve you. It can be fun and easier than you think to attain the success you are after.


To see more of my published articles, including '"Falling In Love...With Yourself," go to:

Golden Visions & Associates, Coaching for Executive and Leadership Success

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Permission is granted to either reproduce copy or distribute "Your Success Thought for the Week" for Sept. 22, 2010 as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author is attached. The author is Ann Golden Eglé, GV&A, Golden Visions & Associates, Coaching for Success, 541.385.8887, PO Box 1696, Bend, Or. 97709.