for a strong, fast pick-me-up
O.K. you know your subject matter. You’re an expert in your subject matter.
Here’s an easy way you can come across in your presentation as a seasoned and expert presenter.
Borrow (and adapt) this technique from international presenter Guy Kawasaki.
Guy has a wonderful way of “warming his audience”. He is a wise business mind. He also has a warm and engaging style. In fact, this project e-FAN-gelism was partly inspired by Guy’s book Enchantment that includes daring to share what you are a FAN of.
Not all cultures are as effusive and “self-promoting” as in the US and especially California.
Many of the senior execs I work with and help are far more reserved. They just like to get their presentation over with and to not try to be too engaging.
Still, I show them how they modify Guy’s style – and get on with it. They often get better audience reaction AND YET are still “professional”.
It’s also helpful to get the audience members relaxed and “on your side”. They’ll often be “more forgiving” if you make any mistakes or have technical difficulties.
You can warm the start of a presentation AND make it relevant and link to the serious subject matter.
The main thing Guy does is he “starts with his audience”.
The presentation below shows how Guy starts with his audience. He is presenting in Scotland and he starts off with photos (simple snaps he takes himself) or 3 examples of Scottish cleverness.
Guy has a practice of getting to a place a day before his presentation. He will get out and about and take photos he will use at the start of his presentation.
Now, this video starts with Guy being introduced. If you are ultra-busy, you can skip straight to where Guy starts at about 5 minutes in. Also, the main bit I am referring to with the Scottish-related content is at around 12:30.
If you have time, the local photos and his commentary from 7:40 to 12:30 are entertaining and also get lots of chuckles and show his easy-going yet strategically engaging style.
Guy has a natural curiosity and, in my opinion, a humorous approach in the way he sees things. He has a reputation for being entertaining. Often his audience expects him to be funny and entertaining. He delivers.
My point is – don’t feel that you have to be as entertaining as Guy YET DO borrow (and modify) what I call his “3 local examples of X technique” (X can be cleverness or something broadly related to your topic)
The photos are about the audience – well the place where the presentation is and in broad terms “Scottish things”.
The quick examples give the audience a chuckle (several chuckles) and that helps warm his audience.
1. Laughter – even mild chuckles – releases “feel good chemicals”
2. The audience-related intro shows the presenter has gone to some effort in tailoring the presentation. Sure, the bulk of the presentation is most probably material he’s delivered before – but it will feel fresh to Guy and his audience – due to the tailoring.
3. It helps the audience “like” and connect with Guy’s easy-going style. An audience that is on-side is usually “more forgiving” should anything go wrong (with presentation technology)
4. If you want to meet with and connect with members of your audience after your presentation – this easy-going intro makes you “more approachable” for people to come up and chat afterwards. Now Guy probably doesn’t need to meet with people – but if YOU do – this “approachability” technique can really help.
I go to see a lot of presentations around the world. I see subject matter experts who are the top in their fields. In my opinion many don’t make the effort to connect with their audience. They look like they are just going through the motions and just doing it for the money.
They could benefit from Guy’s technique.
You don’t have to be a stand-up comedian You don’t have to be hilarious. Just start off by “making it about your audience” Then move into your “normal material”.
What do you think?
Am I expecting too much of business presenters?
Do you fear that a warm intro can take away from the seriousness of your subject?
Please add your views to the comments section below.
Here’s the link to presentation showing the “3 local examples of X technique”
If you are interested, here’s another post about how watching Guy’s style can help you improve your presenting style.
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These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication, better social media engagement etc. I like to help people COPE.