Successful Presentations: Mend Your Cheatin’ Ways

by Bates, Suzanne Wednesday, August 26, 2009
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I’ve never met anybody who didn’t wish they could give a great presentation. I’ve met a lot of people who are kidding themselves about what they’re willing to do about it. These are people with good intentions and bad habits that are killing them.

As those of you who read this blog reguarly know, I can write with absolute certainty about these mistakes because I’ve made all of them. One of the dirty little secrets about professional speakers is that they cheat too, sometimes. I’ve cheated and I don’t recommend it. It’s not worth the price you pay in anxiety, stress and sometimes, total failure.

Most people know even before they walk to the front of the room, whether they’ve done enough. In my experience, even newbie speakers have a sense that they’re simply not prepared. However, as I say, some of the worst cheaters I know are leaders who think they’re pretty good at this. As soon as you start believing your own press releases, you’re headed for mediocrity.

Here are 7 suggestions to help you mend your cheatin ways:

#1: Start thinking, outlining, and researching as you have the presentation date - don’t cheat yourself out of the time it takes to find great material and develop keen insights

#2: Get on the phone with the meeting planner - don’t cheat yourself out of the opportunity to really know your audience and learn what they care about.

#3: Write it out - don’t cheat yourself out of the opportunity to be an articulate leader - use the script to hone your ideas and choose poweful words and phrases.

#4: Let it rest - don’t cheat yourself out of those aha moments that come to you in the early morning or on a walk; let your subconcious work on it and the presentation will write itself.

#5: Put practice on the calendar - don’t cheat yourself by pretending you will practice when your schedule is already brimming.

#6: Track the number of practice sessions by marking your script - this is one of my favorite tricks...i make a mark like this /// at the top of the script each time so I can’t kid myself about how many times I’ve done it before I go live.

#7: Get feedback - don’t cheat yourself out of the sage advice and counsel of people who are good presenters and have your best interest at heart. Find them and tell them you want to know how you can be better.