A few months ago I was at a breakfast meeting – you might be familiar with the format – everyone gets 60 seconds to talk about what they do followed by a 10 minute slot for one person to give a more detailed view of their business……
Anyway on this occasion it was a guy I‘d not met before, Steve, who stood up for his 10 minutes and I can honestly say that I have absolutely no idea, and by the reaction of people around the table neither did anyone else, of what his business was or who would be a good referral for him. Why? because he gave one of the most rambling and disjointed “presentations” I have ever experienced.
He obviously knew where he was going with it (or maybe not!) but he left his audience completely confused. He told stories and jokes, many of which would be ok down the pub but to be honest were not appropriate from a professional point of view or at 8 in the morning and he offended some people. It was clear that most just couldn’t wait for him to sit down.
At the end of the meeting I went to have a chat with him because I was curious and I wasn’t quite sure as to what he actually did …… we got on to talking about what I do and networking in general and I mentioned that his presenting style was unusual. I asked him what results he was getting from speaking and whether or not he would recommend it to others as a way of getting new business.
Steve told me “ I take every opportunity I can to speak because to be honest I love the attention and know I’m really good at it (!) because it just comes naturally to me. I never prepare what I’m going to say because I think it’s important to be spontaneous and I can’t understand why so many people dislike doing it. I don’t get much business from it though and I’m not really sure why.”
You may have heard the saying “Failing to plan is planning to fail” and outstanding presenters really take this to heart.
And in the same way that the best comedians practise every ad lib, outstanding presenters don’t leave anything to chance.
Steve didn’t bother. He didn’t realise that there’s a lot more to getting results from networking and presenting than just speaking off the cuff and there is no doubt it was losing him business. He has the potential to be a great presenter but lacked the self awareness to realise that he has to do something different to improve his results.
……oh, and the bid team didn’t win the £ 5 million contract.
What both Steve and the bid team were missing were The 6Ps of Outstanding Presenting.
- Plan what you’re going to say
- Plan how you’re going to say it
- Plan how you manage your state
- Practise your timings
- Practise your voice
- Practise your movements
In other words don’t leave anything to chance. I plan and practise every presentation I do even if it’s only 60 seconds for a networking event because the best presenters plan and practise every, and I mean every, presentation, whether that be a 45 minute interview as part of the bidding process, a sales pitch or a three day training programme. It doesn’t matter.
Because to be an outstanding presenter you have to share the motto of the Scouts and Guides, …..
Until next time,
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