My friends over at Prezi with the help of Harris Interactive conducted a poll that revealed that 46% of people check out of presentations!
They check their email, their texts, Facebook, and some even check the back of their eyelids. (Hope they don't snore)
Have you ever sat through a presentation and thought:
- What's the point of this?
- There's an hour of my life I won't be getting back.
- Oh my god, is this ever going to end?
- Bored…so very bored…
- How am I suppose to use this?
- No more information! My brain is sliding out of my head.
- STOP SELLING ME!
Your job as a speaker is to make your audience priority #1. You don't want to be that speaker where half the audience stops paying attention and starts wishing you would just shut the heck up.
You want better for your audience. You want 100% audience engagement.
Public speaking is about NOT about the speaker. And while most people nod their head and say heck yeah I agree – speakers are not showing it through their actions.
The audience doesn't need the speaker to be their “hero” and save them from the dreary lives. We don't care about the presenter's six-figure public speaking aspirations because we are more than money bags sitting in uncomfortable chairs.
We are individuals. Individuals tied together by the bond of a group (or company or association). We deserve the BEST.
It's not about what's in it for the speaker – it's about what's in it for us.
If you say YES to a speaking gig, you've said yes to a huge responsibility.
Never be too busy to prepare
If you want to know what it takes to deliver the goods, read this article by my buddy Marc Ensign. There's rule of thumb that for every minute you speak, you should prepare for an hour. Marc invested far more time than 12-hours into a 12-minute presentation.
He showed up for his audience. He wanted to create the best experience for them. And it paid off for the people he serves and for him.
Give your speaking spot to someone who takes their responsibility to the audience seriously. I know that sounds harsh, but winging it is unacceptable in front of any audience.
Know the journey you want to take your audience on
Have you ever mapped the journey you want to take the audience on?
From the moment they come into the room until the last word drops from your lips and they are headed out the door, what experience are you creating for them?
How does your presentation transform, serve, or solve a problem?
When you map out the journey, you know how every word you say, story you tell, activity your planned, question you ask culminates to provide your audience with a transformative experience.
Be clear on the payoff
Not the payout for you but the payoff for your audience.
What value are you creating for them? How do you get them to take the next action step that makes your content useful to them? How is your speech going to fundamentally change them (I don't mean you need to change their life on a Oprah scale, but small changes lead to big rewards).
Here's the deal – focus on the ONE action your audience can take that is going to make a difference to them. Not the 27 steps to make their business better or 43 ways to be more productive. What's the ONE best thing those people that you're serving can do right now?
One final thought…
This article may seem that I'm against speakers promoting their business, books, services, puppy dogs and making money from speaking.
I'm a passionate advocate of your audience (and you should be that too).
I'm against crappy, boring, overwhelming, meandering, salesy presentations that don't have a point other than to sell me your crap or snare me with the offer of a free session.
If you do the work, you're clear on the audience's journey, and you know the payoff, more speaking gigs, sales, and more clients come.
It's a long term investment into people and your business.