How would you feel while sitting in a board room, listening to some rant by a very uninteresting person on a vary boring topic !  Believer me, the life @ hell is nothing different than that !

I know, I know, its really difficult to be a patient listener  … and a patient reader as well, hence this will be a quickie.

However, I thought following quick tips might help you in enjoying some of the most boring presentations in your life,

 

Listen

Listen with understanding and do not be judgmental while the presentation is going on.  If you make up your mind that the presenter is a person of ‘such and such type’, it really becomes difficult to get your interest back on track.

ClassParticipation 

Overlook

Not the presentation, but the faults of the presenter. Always see the intention, summary or the gist of the presentation rather than the actual dialog delivery and apparent things. Think on how you can make up your opinion based on the data / presentation content rather than who is presenting and how !

 

Voice

Voice your opinion on time, precisely and clearly.  It helps the presenter to come back on track if things are going out of sight !

 

Effort

Make an effort to keep the person motivated and ask questions that you feel he could answer. Typically boring topics are also boring for the presenter and they tend to rush or slow things unnecessarily. Hence a participation from your side can actually help close things faster.

 

So, in short, show a LOVE for the presentation and you would not get the biggest distress in your life next time you are invited for a boring talk !

Continuing from my earlier posts about Leadership Management, in this article, I would like to pen my thoughts about the effective presentation techniques.  This is something I learnt in the Mentoring & Coaching workshop that I attended. The learning really enlightened me on how to deliver effective presentation to the audience.  So, naturally, I would like to share with you all so you also get the 2 cents out of my knowledge 🙂

Ok, let me set the context of this article first.

Here, I am going to write about few tips that you should by heart about delivering a keynote, delivering a speech or delivering a presentation to a wise, knowledgeable audience.

Consider your self in a situation where you have to deliver a speech on a ‘process change / innovation’ in your workplace and you would want your audience not only to understand the gist of your presentation, but also leave them motivated and enough encouraged to support you in your work that you want to do. 

Sounds familiar situation ?  Then read on !

Before any of your presentation, do you set out the expectations from your audience? In case you wonder what it is and what kind of expectations one should have from audience then following list should help you construct these,

  • Do you expect your audience to list down action points and work on them later on ?
  • Do you expect your audience to feel motivated and spread the word about your presentation / speech after its complete ?
  • Do you expect your audience to indulge in some thought processing (problem solving) and come back to you on a solution or suggestions offline after your presentation ?
  • Do you expect your audience to just listen to what you are saying ?
  • Do you expect your audience to provide you recommendations and suggestions during the discussion, a kind of real time feedback ?
  • Do you expect your audience to negotiate a deal based on your presentation ?

 presentation

I am sure by answering few of the questions above, you would exactly know what you are looking from your speech or presentation.  There could be more questions, but hopefully the above more or less should cover most of the situations.

Ok, considering you would exactly know your goal and audience expectations set, lets move on to a simple formula to decide how to navigate through your presentation in the most effective way.

 

SENSES

While presenting, you should keep all your senses alive.  Its not that you should use all your sense organs (lol!), while presentation, but you should be fully aware of the surroundings in which you are giving a speech and presentation. Its important that you feel comfortable in the position you are standing, the eye movements, body posturing etc., should be really comfortable and should support what you are actually trying to say.

 

MOTIVATION

This talks about both self-motivation as well as how much your talks are motivating the audience. Self motivation comes from how much conviction you shown in your idea / speech or presentation yourself. And to motivate the audience, you need to try and capture the pulse of the audience based on their own responses, engaging into thinking, discussions etc.

 

APPLICATION

No one is interested in only a concept or a theory. It is important to give an idea to the participants how things will work on a shop floor or in reality. Whatever points you are making, it is important that you give a vision (if not a demonstration) to the audience of how your idea will work in real life. Understanding of where this will work, how this will look like, is very important from the audience perspective.

 

REPEATATION

Ensure that you do enough repeating of the very important points throughout your speech or presentation. Of course, you would not want your audience to miss out on these.  One of the simplest way of doing it is to keep a separate note of your important points and remind your audience of previous points as you go along in your presentation.

 

TRANSFER

Think of real life examples, try and relate it to the what audience has experienced in their own careers, their own life and help them relate themselves to their own thinking. This helps the audience understand the point you are trying to make it, in much better way. One of the easiest way of doing it is to discuss the common pain points, or common gains and benefits that interests you as well as the audience.  This helps the connection 🙂

 

PARTICIPATIONSteve Jobs - A great presenter!

Who wants the audience to go to sleep while your presentation is going on? Participation ensures the brain cells of the participants are active. Few simple tips of ensuring a good participation is to logically divide your audience into groups (in your mind of course, or sometimes actually) and make them think, make them answer simple questions, ask them to raise doubts, or simply nudge them for attention at frequent intervals. Other ways of ensuring participation are encouraging the participants (few of them) to encourage and share their experiences on the topic of discussion.  The change in the speaker (in turn the person under focus) can help re-concentrate on the discussion.

 

UTILIZATION

Would you rather want to hear someone standing in a corner with a folded hands and speaking in a monotonous language ? Or someone who is using the presentation space very well and ensuring he / she is able to make a personal connect with everyone. Its important that you make a full utilization of the accessories that you would have with you for the presentation, be it the presentation board, note papers etc., its important that your body language shows positive signs of trying your best to convince the audience.

 

EXPECTATIONS

As I mentioned earlier in my post, its important that you convey the expectations right at the start of your presentation. This helps in setting up the context and prepares the audience of the way they need to think and concentrate on the speech / presentations.  Believe me, no one is interested in any speech or presentation if you only like your audience to listen and do not act !

 

INTERESTS

Keeping audience interested in the presentation is one of the biggest challenges a presenter faces during his presentation. Especially if this is a long presentation that can go beyond a good hour. You need to keep in mind that every human being has a upper limit of time up to which he or she can concentrate with the best the abilities. You go beyond that and soon you would find audience going to sleep :-).  Few good ways of ensuring the audience stays interested is to take pauses in the presentation at appropriate times, and changing the topic to ease up audience concentration and give their thinking a break ! Speak up about football, cricket and they would jump in the discussion quickly !

 

LOGIC

Last, but probably the most important. You need to be logical in what you speak.  Remember a secret and important fact about presentation “Audience is more cleaver than what you can estimate !”.  It really takes few minutes for the audience to judge whether they are interested in continuing in the presentation at their best, or just drop back or sometimes, even leave it it.  So its important to be logically correct while making arguments, examples etc.

 

Now, in case you are wondering why I actually made one letter out of above points big and others kept smaller, think for a second !  I guess you already have got the answer.

If you put all these letters together, you get a key phrase to remember these tips, “SMART PUPIL”.

Is it now easy to remember this ?

 

Try above tips when you actually deliver your next presentation, and see if you could actually get your point across the audience in a more convincing way.

And as usual, please do let me know your feedback on this. It really helps !

During last few days I have been fortunate enough to participate in few meetings with our top management and these meetings have been a huge learning experiences for me. One such learning, was using storyline technique for writing effective presentation, email or blogging.

The technique is called The Minto Pyramid Principle, or the SCQA technique. The SCQA technique provides you with a flow, that you could use to write your storyline. It helps you write introductions that engages the audience attention before they are told the answers.

Ohh, by now you must be wondering what does SCQA mean? So before you get any impatient, let me describe them,

  • Situation – describe what is the current situation
  • Complexity – describe the tension / issue in the situation
  • Question – describe the question in response to the issue / tension
  • Answer – suggest answer to ease out or mitigate the issue / tension

Now lets take few minutes to describe what each of above point means.

Situation

As I mentioned earlier, the Situation describes what is the current situation with regards to the subject. This could be something that the audience may already know. This establishes the context of the discussion.

As soon as the audience might think I know this, what different are you telling me?  you know you have hooked them in the discussion and you may want to start telling them about the complexity.

Example

For last 6 months our availability has been very good and above the threshold.

 

Complexity

Ok, you set up the context and you have explained the situation. However, now is the time when you actually mention the actual problem or an issue that you want your audience to know.

The answer to the question What happens now that we understand the situation or  What happens next? might help you create a tension un the minds of audience with regards to the story you are telling. Also, once you trigger the tension or curiosity about the possible question, its time you tell the question.

Example

However, this month the situation has changed and we had an unwanted dip in the availability statistics.

 

Question

The question will arise logically after the context you have set and problem complexity you have mentioned in earlier two points. In most of the cases it might automatically come in the minds of the audience, but you may just want to logically put the question forward.

Example

So what do we need to do to recover from the availability loss and resolve the situation?

 

Answer

The answer to the question is the main substance of the whole story and you have to make your point emphatically here.  Try to summarise your answer first – completing your introduction to the answer and later break it down into details and write the main body of your presentations or story.

Example

We need to complete find the root cause of the problem. Ensure the problem is fixed and put a plan for prevention of reoccurrence.

 

I am convinced that using this technique for providing updates would be really effective in day to day work, however I am sure it would take a bit more time for me to actually understand practice the SCQA technique.

After all, this has been explained to us by our Vice president and he seems very convinced of the benefits of using this techniques 🙂

The method is explained in greater detail in Barbara Minto’s book "The Minto Pyramid Principle".