Fresh Baked Bread – Speak in the present
Have you bit into the most succulent looking bread, only to nearly crack your tooth because it was stale? I certainly have… and it was not fun! After that, every hope and expectation I had for the meal went down the drain. And you know what? Early in my professional speaking career, I learned that audiences have the same reaction when they show up at a presentation only to find a stale presenter.
I remember speaking at an investor conference once. At the time, I had been on the road constantly and, unfortunately, did not take the time to do my homework and to prepare properly. As I was presenting, I noticed that no one was nodding their heads and eyes seemed to be glazing over a seat at a time; picture “the wave” at a football game! In the midst of the presentation, I realized that I just was not speaking their language and I had no idea how to reach them. I continued only because I knew that I had to finish what I had started. Long story short, I had geared my presentation towards investing in U.S. equities, which would have been fine if the investors I was speaking to were in the equities market. They weren’t. As it turned out, my audience was a group of real estate investors. As a result, I missed the mark with that audience because I did not prepare and because I relied on a canned, stale bread presentation to get me through the day rather than creating a fresh baked presentation based on what the audience needed and wanted to hear. I’m not holding my breath on being invited back to speak to that group again.
At this stage in my career, I’ve learned some tactics to recover from a stale bread presentation but in my opinion, it’s better to not make a stale bread presentation at all. So, here are three tips you need to remember in order to give audiences that warm, fresh baked bread presentation experience every time!
Tip #1: One talk, double the audience.
There are always two audiences in every presentation. In order to have a fresh baked talk, you must speak to both!
Audience #1 is represented by the “receiver(s).” It can be a single person at a coffee shop, a room full of warm bodies in a conference, a teleconference or an online talk. In any case, you want to make an impression that influences your audience in a positive way because all of your receivers will have a circle of influence—family, friends, and business and church associates. The circle of influence that audience #1 holds could contain many multiples of those who are directly in front of you. Since you never know who is going to be in your audience, plan to always show your Personal Best Identity.
Audience #2 is the group that you represent as the “presenter.” It includes your family, your company, your church, your school, and your mentors. You cannot afford to misrepresent or disappoint this audience because if you’re like most, this audience is the group of people who mean the most to you; you do what you do for them and, because they depend on you, you cannot let them down.
Tip #2: Staying connected is critical!
Staying connected means to be immersed in your own experience (present, remembered, or imagined) while connecting or relating your ideas; the experience should be as if it were actually happening through your own eyes as a participant. When you are connected during a presentation, you stay present in your material, to your outcome, and to both of your audiences. For example, when telling a story you can stay connected by using picture words to help your audience see what you are describing and feel as if they are there with you.
Tip #3: Energy is transferable.
You must be tapped into the vibe you’re putting out and exude that on your audience. Therefore, don’t let negative thoughts fill our mind before you give a talk or speech. Instead, fill your mind with a positive self-talk pep talk. Doing so will help you connect with your audience in a positive, upbeat way, making them more receptive to your message.
By preparing a fresh baked presentation, you will have the courage to be innovative and inspiring, ultimately taking your presentation to soaring new heights. But more importantly, you will have the audience in the palm of your hand. As you begin your talk with your head held high, the audience will know that they are hearing “today’s bread,” baked fresh right before their eyes. Their attention will peak because it’ll be like they are watching a live performance. They will be impressed and engulfed in what you have to say. And guess what? If you always aim to deliver a fresh baked presentation, that’s exactly the type of response you will elicit from every presentation. Plus, you’ll leave your audiences savoring every morsel you give them, and wanting for more.