The Biggest Myth of Presenting That’s Losing You Money

600-The-Biggest-Myth-of-Presenting-Thats-Losing-You-MoneyYou’ve probably seen countless headlines like this at business events:

“The Best Inspirational Experts Will Show You the 7 Easy Steps to Being a Marketing Expert”

I seem to get emails like this all the time. The events can be expensive to attend, but a friend of mine got two complementary tickets to one, so I decided to go along.

I must admit that ‘The Best Inspirational Experts’ were an impressive bunch of people with international reputations… but they were guilty of believing the big myth.

I first came across the same idea many, many years ago as a teacher, and it is actually prevalent in the business world too.

It‘s untrue, and what’s more, buying into it severely restricts the success that can be achieved.

‘The Best Inspirational Experts’ were extremely knowledgeable about their topics – actually I’m assuming they were because it was really difficult to concentrate because the information was delivered in such a BORING way.

Most of them made no attempt to connect with the audience. They just talked at people.

So what is this big myth that will cost you business and lose you money?

The myth is that, when presenting, knowledge is enough….

…enough to bombard people with boring facts and figures

…enough to show 34 slides in a PowerPoint presentation

…enough to inspire your potential client to do business with you

…enough to convince the procurement panel to award you the contract!

But the end result is the same – a bored and switched off audience – whether that be potential clients, business connections, or an interview panel.

And this will cost you money because, when they’re bored and switched off, they’re not listening and don’t understand why they should do business with you.

Now I don’t believe anybody sets out to give a boring presentation on purpose, (although I have come across a couple of business leaders in the past who I’m not so sure about!) but it is so important to keep the attention of your audience. This may seem obvious but why do so many people find it hard to do?

Because they think that presenting is just about talking about what you know – that if they stand up and speak, that will be enough.

But it‘s actually a privilege as a speaker to have an audience listen to you.

It is not a given right. You have to earn their attention, and this is a big mistake that most speakers make, including the international business experts.

The audience, whoever they are, have given up their time to come and listen to you, and you have a responsibility – as the presenter – to provide them with something that will be of value to them and not from your perspective but from theirs – because if they don’t see any value in what you are talking about why should they listen to you?

Just knowing a lot is not enough.

Being an expert in your field is not enough.

You have to learn how to connect and engage with your audience.

And here are a few ways you can start to do just that…

  1. Now this may sound obvious but many people don’t do it! A really great way to connect with people is to SMILE – because most of the time you will get a smile back, which means that they have responded to you, and you have begun to connect and control the interaction.
  2. We like people who are like us, so make a point of beginning with something that is of common ground, and that everyone in your audience can relate to. Make sure it is genuine though, because otherwise it will have the opposite effect, sound patronising and may switch them off.
  3. Tell them something about yourself. I’m not talking about sharing your personal deepest thoughts (although that does sometimes have its place) but just something that people can relate to, that shows you are like them.
  4. Be who you are. You are more attractive and likeable when you are authentic. People find it hard to connect with others when they’re wearing a mask or putting on an act. People are more likely to trust you when you are real and genuine.
  5. Don’t show off and bombard them with too much information. Instead think about how you can provide them with some little nuggets to take away that will be of value to them.

Because truly effective communication is not only about knowledge.

It’s about connecting and engaging with other people to add value – and that’s what’s missing so much of the time in business presentations. Fortunately, it’s really easy to change.

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