It’s always good for trainers to be compelled to practice what they preach. I found myself doing just that in the run up to last Thursday’s Early Worm Club, at which I was to give a presentation about giving brilliant presentations. No pressure there, then!
This subject is, of course, my bread and butter and my passion, and I love talking about it, but I was faced with the prospect of condensing what would normally be a four- or six-hour course, into 70 minutes. Not an easy task but one which the people I train also face on a regular basis. How neat, then, for me to have to implement the key skills I teach.
I began with thorough audience planning which is, of course, the starting point for any piece of communication but especially so for a presentation; I worked my way though my preparation ‘road map’ and finally arrived at a set of tips, stories and examples which would be relevant to that particular audience on that particular day.
But working out what’s relevant and engaging is only half the story. There must follow a ruthless session with the paring knife/red pen, to condense, tighten, finesse, trim. And this is painful. No wonder Sir Arthur Quiller – Couch called it ‘murdering your darlings’.
What’s left on the chopping board should be a sumptuous filet steak. Too often though, what’s served up is a filet steak covered in gravy where the valuable content is lost in a sea of unnecessary words. In this area more is definitely less.
So let’s all remember to leave the Bisto (other gravies are available) in the cupboard, and I hope the Early Worm Club attendees didn’t mind steak for breakfast!
If you are interested in improving your presentation skills, JFDI’s Pitch Presentation Academy can help.
Jayne Constantinis – May 2014