Let’s imagine that you’re asked to give a presentation about sex. Really!
Your audience of adult coworkers are eagerly anticipating the fascinating insights you’re going to share with them in your one-hour presentation.
I’m seriously asking you to imagine this. Go ahead. Giggle, blush, scoff — but ask yourself:
How might you prepare? What might you say? How will you handle Q &A? What props will you use?
As exciting as the topic is — and as riveted as you know your audience will be to hear you talk — there are three pretty typical ways a business presenter can make even sex boring! Here are the top 3 ways you can make any presentation deadly dull — even if the topic is incredibly provocative.
1. Tell the audience everything you know. Let’s say you know quite a bit about the topic. You have a list of facts. You know the latest research. You’ve read volumes of historical, sociological, and anthropological perspectives. Jamming it all into one short hour is going to require fast-talking and lots of bullet points.
Instead, resist the urge to sound like a smarty-pants. You’ve only got an hour. Pick a narrow niche. Go deep, not broad.
2. Share facts, not stories. You don’t want your presentation to get too personal. People need solid information, not jokes or anecdotes. Every second you spend sharing a story or a smile is just a lost opportunity to cram in another important fact.
Instead, try the exact opposite approach. Your audience is more likely to learn from a story than from swallowing a list of facts. Tell a story that relates to your topic. People will do more than learn: they’ll remember.
3. Disconnect yourself emotionally. If you want people to take you seriously, you’d better play it straight. Divorce yourself from your emotions, and read stoically from a teleprompter. Use a monotone. Do not make eye contact with the audience.
Instead, try using some emotional range. Good news may require a display of cheer, bad news may go down easier with an honest display of concern or remorse. You can even spruce up an emotionally neutral topic with some sincere enthusiasm or humor.
Business presenters seldom get to deliver a presentation on a topic as exciting as sex. However, “The Top 3 Second Quarter 2010 Business Unit Challenges” can be a downright amazing presentation if you pick a niche, tell stories, and deliver your presentation with passion!
How else can presenters make sex boring?