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Do you feel you are losing the room while speaking?
Or that they slip off into dreamland?
Or that you have distanced yourself from your audience?
Shiv Shivakumar calls it the mistake that many leaders tend to make. They think that they are experts and they know it all. They just need to go on stage and talk about it. But it’s not that simple.
Presentation is an art. An art of visual expression and like every masterpiece, it requires attention, practice, time, patience, and passion. It should have the ability to stimulate an individual’s thoughts, emotions, beliefs, or ideas through the senses be it sight, sound, or feel. It’s not the matter of the room or the people, it’s what it would linger within.
Rome was not built in a day, but every hour, bricks were laid. It takes time to master a skill or a craft. Don’t underestimate the importance of laying another brick. It’s the system that built the entire empire of Rome.
Similarly driving a car is a process, you need to steer the wheels, change the gears and occasionally speed up or break with the paddles. In the same manner, presentation requires control and passion. Give time, understand and focus to grow. Presentation is not a day’s process, it’s like winemaking. The process is slow and takes time to perfect.
A successful leader would master the art of speaking, bring positive energy and speak on any topic without stumbling. He knows how to reinvent the craft of presentation. Here are some of the ways D Shiv Shivakumar gives for an effective presentation:
Honouring the room is about knowing who is listening to you and why they are there. The key is to understand that every person in the audience needs a different takeaway. So if you honour the room, then you will deliver a speech or for a better piece of communication tailored to that audience.
When you write the presentation yourself on a piece of paper then you know how much effort has gone and then pick the data from it.
When you slug it on yourself it comes easy and when you delegate to someone else the person has an image of what you want, and they put some data together for you, words for you, and then it’s not the same because you don’t feel it.
The art of giving a presentation is in the value added by the presenter beyond what the audience sees on the slides. Intensive statistics in presentation are disruptive narrative devices. Find ways to work stories into your presentation to convey your important messages. Try to have a story in your back pocket for each important message. Always remember no one will remember your statistics but they will remember your story.
Many leaders make the mistake of using big puff words or corporate jargon. What they forget is that the human brain is wired to connect and these superfluous words like machine learning, deep play, data lake untie the connection created.
Use simple language that the audience can understand and feel. Know what the audience wants and give them that. Keep brevity in mind while you are developing your presentations, and when you are finished and ready to present, take one more look at it and find more material you can omit.
Research has proved that human retention increases when the message is seen, heard, and done rather than just seen or heard. Use the 3-second rule to maintain eye contact with the audience. Perform exercises like question answering sessions within the presentation so that the audience feels part of the act. This technique stimulates a sense of belongingness which they’re more likely to carry over into their work or life.
Presenters can connect directly with their audiences by making references to relevant facts about individuals in the audience or about the audience as an affinity group. These connections are rare. In the end, aim for the audience to conclude that “the speaker is just like me.”
Feedbacks are great ways to help leaders grow. And when I say grow, I don’t mean that the leader doesn’t know or he is incompetent, what I actually mean is that you learn for better performance. The ability to accept and learn creates a powerful opportunity to grow.
Feedback ensures that the receiver has received the message and accepted it in the same sense as the sender meant for. It enables the communicator to carry out corrections or amendments or changes.
Trust the process and the results will automatically come. Focus on these points, play by your strengths and be authentic to yourself. Even repeating presentations is a deadly act. Always remember that the audience is like an 80-year-old. Explain your theory like you would explain it to them.
At last, the sage advice for The Art of Presenting is to aim for the ‘Aha moment’ or The Eureka moment where the audience is left star-struck and what they receive is beyond the information of the slides to provide substance and value to the audience.
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