Friday, January 13, 2012

20 years of sermons 4 times a week taught me how to be a good presenter

Those who know me, know I'm passionate about good presentations.  I'm not the best but I try to ensure that anyone attending a session I give is at least engaged.  Some people know more than the average person and I can't teach them anything, but I can at least be my best and help the rest of the "room".

Seth Godin wrote a great blog today that is SO true.  I have been attending education for 20+ years.  I'm so bored with presentations and meetings.  Yet, there are some I leave with great information, even if only a small thing.

I'm a tough grader.  My dad is a minister and I went to church 4 times a week (yes, 4) and heard sermons each time.  So I've sat through my share of horrible sermons (dad if you are reading, none of them were yours) as well as some awesome sermons.  Whether you believe in God (or a god) or not, preachers have a tough job of communicating exciting messages each week (and then getting you to give a portion of your income to help continue the messages).  So I think my passion for great presentations began then.

But back to Seth.  If you are a great presenter (or even good), then go for it.  If not, send a memo and save us all some time.  Here is a link and the copy of Seth's blog.  If you ever present or manage people who do, share this.

It's extremely difficult to read a speech and sound as if you mean it.
For most of us, when reading, posture changes, the throat tightens and people can tell. Reading is different from speaking, and a different sort of attention is paid.

Before you give a speech, then, you must do one of two things if your goal is to persuade:
  • Learn to read the same way you speak (unlikely)
  • or, learn to speak without reading. Learn your message well enough that you can communicate it without reading it. We want your humanity.
If you can't do that, don't bother giving a speech. Just send everyone a memo and save time and stress for all concerned.

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