A fundamental part of being effective at work involves giving presentations.
Too many times we are either petrified or underachieve when we have a chance at the front of the room. Perhaps we aren’t thinking about the speaking opportunity in a big enough way. Maybe we think that the purpose of the next presentation is to inform or entertain.
In the greatest book I’ve ever read on public speaking (Give Your Speech, Change The World), author Nick Morgan declares that “the only reason to give a speech is to change the world.” This is the necessary point of view to give GREAT presentations. Nick’s studied the greats: JFK, MLK and even Churchill. They all believed this.
The measure of a good presentation has to do with the changes in behavior that it creates. If your presentation convince someone to do something different the next day, you changed the world — and rocked the mic. If you simply made people laugh, dumped copious amounts data or bullet pointed your way to the end, you did not change the world and the presentation will not have long lasting impact.
When people change behavior after hearing a presentation, they grant authority to you and appreciate the difference you’ve made in their lives. This is why effective speakers move up in the business world. They leverage the distribution opportunity (for their intellectual capital) and LEAD others to a new way of acting. Notice how I didn’t say that you change thinking? That’s for books. Speeches are intended to move an audience to action.
The next time you make a presentation go through this “change the world” acid test:
* Did I give them motivation to do something?
* Did I give them clear action items?
* Did I make their new behavior easy to adopt?
Don’t ignore this just because your next presentation is just a post-mortem on a project. Look at the body of the data and stories and assume a leadership role; what do you want to suggest that they do differently next time? What do you want themt to do about the information today? If you have a strong point of view, information always leads to suggestions for improvement.
Suggested reading: Give Your Speech, Change the World by Nick Morgan
Check out: One of my talks (The Love Lecture) where I employ Nick’s theory of giving a talk to change the world. I wanted to convince each audience member to go out and multiply value in the business world by promoting the growth of others through sharing knowledge, network and consistently likeable behavior. See if, over the course of the talk, I met the above acid test.
The Love Lecture @ ADP’s 2004 Sales Rally