Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Presenter Evolution

As you start to watch different presenters and listen to what they say and how they say it, you might notice some distinct differences. A sports person who just won gold in their chosen event might be sharing a story of how they did it. A consultant on customer service might be sharing the steps you go through to improve your service. A spiritual guide might simply sit in service doing what appears to be an off the cuff yet profound question and answer session. They are setting a state of energy in the room.

What follows are my thoughts on the evolution of speakers. It steps out what is for me, an easy to follow process for taking your presentations to the next level. Once again (as it's not how we normally see things), each stage is ‘AND also' not ‘Then NEXT'. It's about incorporating the best of what you learn from the early stages into each next progressive level. This is key to getting better exponentially. You always need to build your next learning on the foundations of your previous knowledge. It requires more continuous focus but I think it is the determining factor between competence and mastery.

First Stage:
You see this with kids at primary school. My 5 year old son will present a message from his point of view (I) and will deliver his message through narrative (story). Assuming you are interested in him and his stories, and of course I am, it's compelling. This stage is used to stimulate interest and is often best delivered with a semi theatrical style. ‘An amazing thing happened to me the other day...'

Second Stage: Teachers tend to come from this stage most of the time. They will set out a sequential process (steps) and deliver it with a training outcome approach (you). The idea is you acquire a new skill, a way of doing something. This stage is designed to impact the audience in some way and is very much delivered with an instructive show and tell style. ‘Here is some thing you may find useful...'

Third Stage:
A great coach with an elite sports team will often present from this third stage. They use tone and shift the energy in a room. It's all about the energy or mood (state) they create. Often they challenge, confront, excite or inspire, depending on the outcome they are hoping to facilitate. It's very much about getting into the heads of the audience and connecting (engagement) with them in some significant way. This is the stage most change occurs from. ‘Together we can create history here today, but you have to want it bad. Do you want it? I know one thing; physical pain disappears but the feeling of defeat lasts a lifetime...'

It's not that one stage is better than another but rather that all stages are better than one. Access techniques for all three stages and as a result you will create presentations that are at the same time stimulating, having an impact on the audience and shifting things positively.


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