While waiting for departure at Birmingham airport on my way back home to Sweden, I thought I should share some thoughts with you from my keynote presentation at the IFS Europe West Customer Summit.
My keynote was “IFS Application 8 Launch” where I shared new product innovations in the coming release of IFS Applications. I spent one half of the presentation showing and explaining new stuff to come in the next release and the other on talking about how we actually work to generate ideas and new innovations. I will return to this in coming posts.
When I present to a 230-strong audience, I want them to experience my session. They should leave my session with a good gut feeling and a smile of contentment. [Based on their feedback, I actually think I succeeded!]. But, have you ever thought about why you feel you have succeeded with a presentation? What’s the difference between a good and a not so good presentation?
As always on my way back home, I visit the airport book stores to buy a book to boost my own inspiration. This time I bought the book “The Language of Leaders – How top CEOs communicate to inspire, influence and achieve results”, by Kevin Murray.
Browsing through the book, my eyes caught a headline “It’s not what you say; it’s what they hear”. The author of the book explains that at the beginning of every interview with the CEOs, he asked each leader to rate themselves as a communicator. Most put themselves at 7-8 on a 10-point scale. But many commented that they would rate themselves differently on different days, some days even as low as 4. Where they rated themselves highly, there was a single common factor; it was all about “connection”.
On those occasions when they felt they had made a connection, when they enjoyed the “buzz” of an engaged audience, they would sometimes give themselves 10/10.
Back to my summit presentation. I use a presentation technique where I try to get feedback from the audience so that we together can create that “connection”. The more positive and engaging the feedback I manage to get (smiles, nods, laughs, applauses etc.), the more energy and inspiration I can give back in return to the audience—and the result, I hope, is an appreciated presentation.
Conclusion: Being creative and coming up with ideas is important, but having the skill to communicate ideas or a vision is business critical too. Being able to describe the future in rational terms (numbers or products) is just as important as describing the future in emotional terms (how it will feel for all concerned).
Let me repeat the headline of this post. You drive the present by communicating the future.
Interesting – I presented at a global conference for 400 media people just over a year (the mood was stiff and very much suit and tie) and regularly lecture to the marketing students at KTH in Stockholm (quite the opposite atmosphere). My trick to make an impression with an audience is to use the position as a lecturer/presenter and the authority that comes with it and play with that a bit. That means treating the audience to a joke on your expense, interrupting a detailed technical slide with a comment about how little you yourself actually understand of it, etc. The most common mistake: trying too hard to be “professional” and ending up being boring. Presenting is a show and we need to work hard in order to motivate why we take up the time of those listening – in fact we are using hundreds of man hours when presenting on just one occasion – make that time count.
Thanks for your comment Per.
It’s about facts + performance, isn’t? A picture is worth a thousand words, and you as a presenter must be that “picture” for the audience to be remembered. Not necessary what you say to the bullets on the PowerPoint (use pictures instead), but the feeling and experience you can share.
It’s self-invented, but I use a “3D presentation technic” with lots of requisites. That gives more action and makes it much easier for the audience to remember. To explain how fragile new ideas are, I crashed two raw eggs on the stage….
Heh, I’ll have to steal that raw egg idea from you ;-)