The Killer Presentation (Part Two)
Rehearsing and the Question Impediment
When presenting an idea to a group or individual, or services to a prospect, failure to deliver the message effectively impacts your goals, credibility and potentially, reputation.
Several things should be done ahead of any presentation to maximize success. Unfortunately, many business professionals still tend to miss out on a few simple but critical items. Eventually everyone learns, but one short cut is to apply proven techniques – consistently.
Two things you can think about are rehearsing your presentations, and communicating clearly. Sounds basic right? And yes, I am referring to how we speak. You would be surprised at how many times professionals shoot themselves in the foot for not applying the simplest of techniques.
In Part 1 of this article series, we discussed non-words or fillers, and how they negatively impact a speaker’s effectiveness. Another speech related issue that is rising to an epidemic scale today is the question mark impediment.
Take note. Many rising professionals have developed a speech problem they must address before they can take on the world. It’s becoming a disease. Teenagers and adolescents have it down pat so well it’s scary. It’s the dysfunctional speech habit of turning virtually every single statement into a question.
You’ve surely spoken with someone who sounded as if they were asking you a question, only to move on to the next sentence, leaving you hanging even if for a second, until your realized that the question was actually a statement. This kind of speech is popular amongst teenagers and is making its way into the business arena as new generations enter the professional world. It is extremely distracting and anything that distracts an audience also affects comprehension. You won’t want that when you’re trying to convey an important point or sell a service. What would have been ‘cool’ at high school goes out the door in business. So try to listen to yourself talk over the next few days and check that box if it applies.
Another issue is insufficient preparation ahead of presentations. Who’s the most guilty? Surprisingly not those who are new to the business world. This group, once professionally trained, typically does all it can to prove itself. It’s also normally not the extremely experienced and seasoned executive. It’s the layers in between including middle and upper management levels. While this is surprising, the fact that these groups know their product or subject inside out gives them a false sense of confidence that tends to backfire during prime time.
Rehearsing ahead of a major meeting or presentation is critical. Do NOT leave it to the last day as most people do. Rehearse alone several times, have a friend or colleague listen to your pitch once or twice, fine-tune your approach and rehearse again in front of a mirror. The difference between rehearsing loudly or internally is also huge. Just try it both ways and you’ll see. If you rehearsed internally at first and went to normal speech voice later, it would be as if someone just tripped you. I’ve been there.
And a couple of the typical excuses some use so they don’t rehearse?
“Why do I need to? I’ve done this presentation a dozen times before,” or, “I can present this, no problem. I’ve got these other things I have to do.”
While your standard presentation may be the same, your key messages and nuances may have shifted. This changes things.
And remember, you are only as good as your next meeting.
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