Latest "Humor in presentations" Posts
A story from Tarzan: a different kind of success story…
This week I’m going to veer from our new “let’s share a business story” angle and write about how a classic cartoon can impact your business success.
No, I haven’t gone mad. You read that right – sometimes we can find life lessons from the simplest things and everyday events around us. In this case, it’s a Tarzan cartoon that I remember vividly to this day.
In the first scene, Tarzan just learned that Jane is in the jungle and he’s excited to meet her, but very nervous — just like many of us are before an important meeting or presentation.
He wants to make a great first impression – hey, apparently even guys in the jungle know just how important that is!
Virtual Presentation Skills:
Connect With Your Next Remote Audience
Did you know that to be successful, virtual presentations require different tactics than in-person meetings do? That’s because it’s much harder to tell whether or not your audience is truly engaged when you can’t see them.
Let me share a cautionary tale. An insurance exec I know – Pete — was quite confident in his webinar delivery skills – even to the point of arrogance. He often bragged about his virtual facilitation skills to colleagues and supervisors alike. “Webinars? Piece of cake. Everyone loves my webinars.”
I was observing Pete facilitating one of his regular weekly WebEx team meeting when we heard a beep-boop-beep on the line: the sound of a phone being dialed. When he asked who was making that sound, he was met with silence.
You’re giving an important presentation to audience members who might not be entirely sympathetic.
Maybe it’s delivering news of downsizing, or a reduction in hours. Maybe it’s sharing bad sales statistics. Or, maybe it’s trying to sell an idea for change that’s not popular.
Whatever the message, the people staring back at you from the seats probably don’t know who you are.
They are a captive audience, compelled to attend your talk by company policy or their managers, whether they like it or not.
You already know they are not inclined to think about the issue or idea you’re presenting the same way that you do. So, now what?
If your goal is to open or even change their minds — to persuade, to get them to take the action you need them to take or see the issue in a more favorable light — what are your options?
Whether you believe it or not, the introduction to any presentation is the most important part.
It’s the presenter’s chance to grab his or her audience members’ attention in an inspiring and compelling way that will make them sit up and pay full attention.
If you don’t get your listeners’ attention during the opening few minutes, it’s unlikely they’ll be paying enough attention for anything you say later.
As I researched the most famous speeches of all time for my previous blog, I couldn’t help but notice that most were delivered by men. But of course, women are equally capable of giving a persuasive, inspiring and memorable speech.
That’s why I went out of my way to cite Susan B. Anthony’s words in that post, instead of showing the usual ones from the likes of Lincoln, Kennedy, Churchill, or Dr.
Virtual presentations come with all the same kinds of challenges that face-to-face presentations do.
You must be well prepared, with a well-designed program, the right visual aids, stories and anecdotes, a strong opening that hooks them right away, and lots of practice to ensure that your delivery is confident and smooth.
Presenting to virtual audiences also has its own, unique set of challenges — and I’m not even talking about the technology that’s involved in these types of virtual speaking platforms (like which webinar software and tools to use)!
Many of these challenges stem from the fact that you cannot see or make eye contact with your audience members. It’s much harder to “read” them, to know if you are keeping them engaged or not, or to tell when what you’re doing isn’t working and it’s time to switch gears.