What’s your executive presentation IQ? How do you rate yourself as a presenter? Are you looking to move from fair to good, or from good to outstanding?
The questions below will help you in your self-assessment.
Executive Presentation: Five Questions
1. Do you stand behind a lectern? Talking heads hide their body language. They rarely motivate or persuade listeners. How can they—they are hiding.
2. Do you deliver group presentations while sitting rather than standing? Sitting never has the command presence or persuasive power of standing. If you justify sitting because you are nervous, you are already down two strikes.
3. Do you dim or turn off the lights? What are you selling—information on the screen or your ability to lead, motivate or persuade viewers? A dark room sells screens, not presenters. Narrations or information-only presentations are best done by e-mail. It’s more efficient and saves time. Outstanding presenters request a presentation so they can persuade. That means they must be seen, not just heard.
4. Do you stand behind a podium off to the side or work the computer sitting with the group all facing the screen? This is a split presentation. You force viewers to choose whether they should look at the screen or at you. The screen always wins. Viewers cannot take in both you and the text together. A split presentation seriously dilutes your message and sells screens, not you and your message.
5. Are your slides 50% to 100% text? If yes, you are committing the biggest of all presentation mistakes. Text slides cripple your delivery. Do you parrot the words on the screen? Why? We can read, and we do so 4 to 5 times faster than you can talk. Therefore, listeners are always visually way ahead of you, but not hearing you. Try concentrating on a computer screen while a coworker talks to you. You won’t hear them. It might be OK for a kindergarten teacher to read to children. But adults should not read to other adults in a business situation. It’s insulting and self-defeating!
Do you hope that viewers will remember the main points from from your text slides? Forget it. Retention of the text messages hovers near zero. The mind functions far, far better at remembering faces than names. We dream in pictures, not words. Read the many proofs of all this in Visual Selling, pages 11 and 87.
Executive Presentation Quiz Results
If you failed any of these questions, especially the last one, call me — Paul LeRoux — at 312-467-2120. I’ll outline exactly how you can move from a fair presenter to a good one or to an outstanding speaker.
Actually, any speaker can be outstanding if he or she has the desire to do so and the time to master correct presentation techniques. Many earn accounting, engineering, law or science degrees. However, few, very few, ever make an outstanding executive presentation. Yet the skill to stand and persuade listeners is highly sought, valued, praised and rewarded.