April 18, 2011

Be the one with the surprises



I've heard this from several of my clients: "My information isn't interesting." "They're bored before I even start." "They don't even want to be there."

Typically, attendance at these internal presentations is mandatory, and they cover topics like compliance, sexual harassment, health benefits, and so forth. There's usually lots of filling out of forms, watching painful educational videos and sitting through complex technical explanations.

So are they right? Is their information truly not interesting? Is the audience bored before the speaker even begins?

Maybe it's true that the audience is not eagerly anticipating listening to a presentation about HIPAA, but that doesn't mean you have to feed into this preconceived idea that the presentation is automatically boring.

There's certain information you're required to deliver. But why not wrap it in a fun package? Why not find ways to take this same "boring" information, and make it into a game, or build in interactive activities that add some energy to the room?

I spoke with a recent client about this negative mental energy she was bringing to her presentations. I asked her how she could find a way to make her time in meetings more engaging, both for herself and for her audience. There is always a way, but it takes commitment, planning and preparation.

The more we talked about it, the more intrigued she became. To begin with, why not incorporate some icebreakers and mental refreshers into her presentations and meetings?

  • How about one week she brings a short quiz about the history of the company to the all-staff meeting, and whoever gets the most answers correct wins a prize?
  • Maybe at another meeting, she brings an activity where the staff can learn something new about the other people they work with, by drawing clues on their name tags.
  • At one meeting, she might introduce an interesting and fun factoid she found on the Web that relates to the company's mission.
  • During one of those "dreaded" compliance presentations, she could have her team discuss how these issues affect them, personally, and track responses on a flip chart (and candy would make a nice reward).

None of these activities are complex. And they all relate to the meeting topic, the company's mission and history, or to employee bonding and morale -- all worthwhile focus areas.

I saw her face brighten. Her eyes lit up. She began to smile. She realized that, instead of being the person with the boring technical presentations that "no one wants to attend," she could instead be the person with the surprises. She could be the person who brings the fun.

Who wouldn't want to be that person?

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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

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