A Presentation Fire Drill That Needs To Go!

by Paul Castain on April 10, 2011

A speaker steps up to the podium and says “Good morning”. In a split second, you find yourself thinking “Don’t do it bro. Don’t reject our good morning” but you return fire with the obligatory “Good morning” along with the rest of the audience.

The speaker makes a disappointed face and you immediately start thinking “this dude’s gonna do it, please don’t do it dude”. He then says “Ah man, that was awful. Let’s try it again!” and then everyone says it louder as you mumble “tool” under your breath!

Sound familiar?

Here’s my issue with that overplayed  move. I could set it up with the audience ahead of time to have everyone spit fire like Gene Simmons while throwing rock horns like the late Ronny James Dio while giving a hearty Homer Simspon “Woo Hoo” and that son of a bitch would still ask us to do it again!

It almost makes me want to get up and say “Fine . . . there’s obviously no pleasing you” and leave,  but that’s the kind of epic sh*t that gets you face to face with a  random drug test!

Truth be told, and all pointless sarcasm aside, there are better ways to start your presentation such as:

  1. A left hook or as some like to call it “A startling statement”. A startling statement is just that. It’s a statement designed to throw your audience off balance and get them immediately engaged in your message.
  2. An Intriguing Story: We’ve all heard about the power of stories and yet so few use them. Personally, I think anyone who has to deliver a presentation needs to practice the fine art of story telling.
  3. A Statistic, Study or Interesting Fact: One of the many lessons I learned when I worked for Dale Carnegie was to ask yourself a simple question “Who says so besides you?” When executed properly, this gives you instant credibility with your audience and they don’t feel inadequate because they didn’t say “Good morning” up to your high standards of goodmorningness.

And just for the heck of it, marry those things in with a funny or impactful graphic and you are well on your way to differentiating from the masses!

So enough about my presentation pet peeve . . . What kind of things cause you to disconnect with a speaker?

Inquiring Jedis want to know?

Paul Castain is the Vice President of Jedi Mastery at Castain Training Systems where he is the purveyor of ridiculous sales chops. Click here to bring your skills up a notch or three!

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