You may be delivering a scientific paper, explaining to the salespeople how the new system will change the way they place orders, or reporting on a project that no one really understands. When you stand up in front of an audience with people who have no idea who you are, you need to let them in on you as a person. Tell them a “secret” about yourself so they feel connected to you. Decide whether to tell this mini mini-story as soon as you start talking, or perhaps after you present your executive summary.
How are you, as a person, different? Find something interesting about yourself that you can share, and relate it to your topic. For example, a presenter with twin sons could say, “You think it’s hard to balance the company business, well, you haven’t had twins. My twins are now 10 years old and they have taught me a lot about setting priorities.” Or, “Now that I am in charge of business operations, I can put to good use all that I’ve learned by having twins. Now that’s an operation to manage!” One or two sentences say a lot about who you are and make you more human to your audience.
Here’s how a scuba diver worked her passion into her presentation on a problematic new project plan that will need some hard work to resolve:
“I’m a scuba diver by passion. What’s really interesting in scuba diving is that the water can be very rough on the surface, but once I’ve gone down even 40 feet, it becomes is clear and gorgeous. I’ve dived in some treacherous-looking but beautiful reefs off the coast of Belize. From my experience, we have some reefs to navigate before we can dive deeply into implementing this plan. The results all will see will be worth our efforts right now.”
This tells your audience something about yourself, indicates where you think you are now in the plan, and expresses the confidence that it is totally possible to reach a satisfactory conclusion.
Do visit Claudyne’s site at Wilder Presentations to sign up for her blog, her tweets or to download some free presenting tools.
Claudyne’s next Get to the Message Workshop in Boston is May 14 and 15. It is a very small intimate group with only ten people.