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Out of the mouth of babes
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Make your audience the presenter.
If you have a really boring subject to present, one great way to make it interesting is by letting your audience do all of the work.
While this might sound like I have stolen a page from Timothy Ferriss's playbook, it is actually a very effective means of crafting a killer presentation. Rather than giving your audience all of your content, ask them questions and let their answers form the basis of your presentation. Your job is to arrange the material so it meets your selfish goals as a communicator.
Let me tell you how this might work.
I'm creating a presentation on financial concepts. I have created a number of courses in a similar vein, including a really fun 8 hour one I deliver to Winery employees, via The WISE Academy in Napa.
But I wanted to try a new angle for this one. I am going to have attendees list the costs of creating a product and then rearrange the items identified so that they end up on the correct financial statement. So the first pass will take every expenditure identified and subtract it from revenues to produce a totally incorrect estimation of net income. I will then explain concepts like matching and revenue recognition and move the items around until eventually I end up with a closer approximation of GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principle) income. And while I'm at it, I will have something called a balance sheet.I'll move some items from the Income Statement to the Balance Sheet. When I'm finished, it will be really clear how different the two financial statements are. I might provide some supporting handouts, but won't use a single slide in the course of my presentation.
Questions are a great way to form a connection with another person. They can be used to show your interest and to gather data that you can use to build a conversation. But they can also be irritating. If you have ever had a conversation with an aggressive questioner, you know how off-putting it can be. When you are hit with a rapid fire series of questions with no meaningful dialogue in between, you eventually start to get defensive.
Can polished speakers be boring?
This is weird. Sometimes if you are too polished it becomes boring. I'm not really sure why this is the case. It might be that rather than being polished, the presenter came off as canned. Or maybe the word is trite. In comedy they call it "hack." I saw such a presenter today and it just didn't seem authentic. The jokes fell flat and the audience didn't seem responsive. But maybe I was just being crabby because I had to get up early to go to this presentation.
Boring subject of the week.
There is an endless stream of boring topics courtesy of the AICPA. They are talking to members who understand their terminology so it's not wrong for them. But please, oh please, Mr. or Ms. CPA, do not take the material they provide to you and deliver it directly to your clients.
Energy counts for a lot.
No matter what the subject, if you approach it with enthusiasm, your audience is likely to be interested too. Energy spreads, and the lack of it can kill a presentation. I find that a responsive audience feeds my energy and can make me better as the presentation progresses.
Never, I repeat, never agree to present anything using any web tool without first practicing your delivery and testing the tool's capabilities.