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The Best Way to Knock the Socks off Your Audience

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It’s the information age. People are clamoring for data and facts.

But that’s not what your presentation should be about.

Put yourself in the audience’s shoes. How exciting is it to be the passive recipient of a bunch of information?

About exciting as watching grass grow!

So instead of standing behind a podium and acting as the “giver” of information, take action.

Why action wins over information

If you need to relay information, just send an email or write a note.

When you’re in front of an audience, however, you have a bigger purpose to fulfill.

Your passion and energy can affect the audience, too.

The action you take during the presentation will make them feel. So you need to make an emotional connection with the audience that moves them, drives your purpose, and ultimately, causes them to follow through on that purpose  –  and make a change.

Maybe you’ll make people feel something.

Perhaps because of your presentation, they will consider a new idea.

Maybe they’ll even get mad.

But the point is that you will be motivating, convincing, entertaining, angering, teaching, inspiring and invigorating.

Similar to the purpose of your presentation, the action will also help you focus.

By removing “to inform” from the list of acceptable actions to take with your presentations, you’ll naturally focus on something that’s more powerful.

"Action" in action

This story about a regional sports media provider employee proves the point.

One of the employees, Susan, insisted that she couldn’t do anything other than “inform” while giving quarterly updates to the CEO’s assistant. Her intent was to deliver the information as quickly as possible.

Asking her questions, we probed Susan about what could go wrong with the process. She confessed that because she had to convey the updates through the assistant, a multitude of potential issues existed. The assistant could make negative assumptions, for example, assuming that Susan wasn’t committed or her department wasn’t meeting its goals.

In the best-case scenario, the assistant would get excited about her department’s work and share that sentiment with the CEO. As a result, her department could get more funding, positive performance reviews and promotions.

After assessing the quarterly review process, Susan realized she could make a real impact by appealing to the emotions of the audience.

During the next quarterly review process, she and her team decided on a singular purpose: Getting good reviews from the assistant that resulted in a budget increase. Their action was to inspire her to share positive comments with the CEO and support their recommendations for increased funding.

Building their presentation, Susan’s team got really creative. They shared success stories and created colorful posters to share in a bright room (as opposed to making a PowerPoint presentation, which required the room to be darker).

During the quarterly update, the assistant reaction positively to the team’s approach, asking questions, commented, laughed  –  she was engaged!

And guess what? The team got their budget increase.

In this case, action put Susan and her team in the best vehicle reach their destination: the purpose. And it can help you, too.

Just put the right fuel (action) in your car to drive it in the right direction (purpose)!

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Put the right fuel (action) in your presentation to drive it in the right direction (purpose)!

 

Come up with ONE purpose and ONE action for your next presentation.

Do you just present information? Or do you give it action?

Breaking Old Presentation Rules