September 22, 2008

What not to do at the end of a presentation



We plan a lot for what to do before and during a presentation, but not much for what to do at the end -- or what not to do.

I'd like to remind you not to dwell on the things that were not 100% perfect. Yes, it's a good idea to go over the presentation and make notes on what worked and what didn't work so well. But make your notes and move on.

If something didn't work well, was it just the wrong audience for that material, or does the material need an overhaul? You can't determine that from one audience, by the way, so you might want to let it ride for another presentation or two.

If you were off the mark, what do you need to do differently next time? Was your preparation lazy? Did you prepare your words but not your body or your mind?

If things didn't go as planned, don't be too hard on yourself. We all have "off" days, and the audience rarely has the same perception of your presentation that you have. They are not viewing it microscopically like you are; they are unable to read your mind or feel your distress.

Plan in advance, as part of the affirmations and positive self-talk of your preparation ritual, not to dwell on the negative.

You can't change the past. It's over. Look forward to your next presentation as an opportunity to do better.

4 comments. Please add yours! :

Dr. Jim Anderson said...

Lisa: easy to say, but oh so hard to do! One thing that you didn't mention is what we need to do IMMEDIATELY after a presentation. It turns out that it's pretty simple: stick around! All to often, if we're not happy with the way that things turned out we'll run off and go lick our wounds. This is the wrong thing to do. Instead, stay - make yourself available and talk to everyone who wants to talk to you. No matter how bad you were, there will always be people who want to talk to "the speaker" afterwards. Who knows, you may find out how they saw you and it may be different from how you saw yourself!
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- Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting - The Accidental Communicator Blog

Brandon said...

Great add on Dr. Jim...good advice - Thanks.

Gavin Meikle, Trainer, Speaker & Coach said...

Wise words indeed. Lisa is so right. One of the most useful presuppositions coming from the world of NLP is "There is no failure, only feedback" If we can learn to adopt this mindset and extract the learnings from any situation we develop much faster.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

I like that quote, Gavin.

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