Powerful presentations

June 3, 2006 § 1 Comment

Great Unknown (A Series of Unfortunate Events)

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We are bored by bulleted missionary presentations talking down at us, shuing us “what to do next”. It makes for harnessing, instead of nakedness. If we are not to become our “opposers” … If we do not want to harness others … If we do not desire to enforce our will on others … how about we figure out “what to do before” first? What if we were to do some foreplay?

Whether you are an independent or not, whether you present to an investor or (other) employee, the very best presentations are the ones that presenters create themselves, where the presenter has done the search and find, taken the time for quiet reflection and playing with concepts, key words and key symbols, where a presenter has developed the patterns and timing of a presentation him or her-self, and added his or her own sense of humor, where several rounds of feedback are incorporated to make it as resonant as can be, and the presenter emanates familiarity and self-confidence.

A good presenter creates a field that reveals keys for opening doors, for both audience and presenter.

When we present “Agile Development” for a particular context and purpose, we need a number of expected skills, as well as a number of (possibly) unexpected skills. The “unexpected” required skills easily follow when taking one step back from the “expected” desired skills. Ummm. What I mean to say is, perception skills precede succeeding with presentation skills.

Relationships skills

  • Managing group dynamics. For example, making contact by looking people in the eyes. Stepping back: We need to be able to analyze group dynamics in the moment.
  • Being able to address a whole group by addressing its individuals. Stepping back: We need to question individuals for relevant information.
  • Patterning, pacing, timing, and focusing of presentations. Stepping back on this one: We need to have a look at the big picture of business relationships of the local context and purpose.
  • Varying and interesting fitting styles. Stepping back: Generating options for acceptance by clients and customers might be a good idea.
  • Seeking and using feedback from audience: Stepping back: Seeking and using feedback from clients and customers.

Content skills

  • Adapting to local context and purpose. Stepping back: Determine local context and business goals.
  • Following likely causes and effects. Stepping back: Define problems, all of them, including the ones we think aren’t. Problems don’t go away by declaring them not to be a problem.
  • Differentiating for specific roles in the audience. Stepping back: Collecting, sorting, and evaluating data on (likely) audience.

Support materials, tools, and skills

  • Review media that support the message we deliver. like graphic layout, clarity of ideas, (gender) biases, timeliness. Stepping back: Identifying and getting keys from personal sources.
  • Practice with the use of media and machines. Stepping back: Actually practicing.
  • Using media to engage and support intake. Stepping back: Exploring media effects with ourselves as victim.

And there are no guarantees … The Great Unknown isn’t called that for nothing. Let’s allow for and come prepared for not knowing everything. Then we push the edge of excellence.

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