Presentation skills have squat to do with digital

By Mark Carter

We may be in a technological era, yet the best presenters require nothing digital to engage their audience. Why? Because you have to remind yourself we are human beings living in a technological era. Not technological beings living in a slightly human period. And humans experience their world through all the senses. Senses powerfully triggered and brought to life through skill and stories.

As a training manager with Contiki, for many years, presentation skills was one of the fundamental gifts I’d have to ensure trainees could leverage as powerfully as possible.

Great presentations (facing your audience, using no notes) made a massive difference to the customer experience. Think about it. Every tourist destination on the planet is merely a municipality of a different size fused from the same elements of mud, bricks, mortar, water, people and, yes, perhaps some amazing architecture. Yet ultimately what would bring those cities to life would be the stories binding it all together. Knowing succinct facts, dates and detailed academic knowledge is great, yet what wakes people up are the stories you can hypnotically submerse their full senses in.

History is built on storytelling. Legends are created by storytelling. Cultures are bonded by it. Tribes flock around it. You’ll spend money-watching movies (stories) brought to life by directors and actors playing their parts. We read books (well edited, descriptive stories) and spend time with friends in the pub or at barbeques sharing exploits (even more stories) from the week or month that’s passed or our hopes and dreams relating to what’s about to transpire.

In his coffee table book, A Recipe For Dreaming, the author Bryce Courtenay, captures this same concept well. “Each of us is designed for one of two immortal functions, as either a storyteller or as a cross-legged eager listener to tales of wonder, love and daring. When we cease to tell or listen then we no longer exist as people.”

So I’ll say it again, we are human beings, living in a technological era, so our ability to deliver powerful presentations requires mastering the most powerful, unique, technological component in every instance; ourselves. Start to see tech, (slides and aides) as icing on the cake to bring senses to life. Audio visual is especially easy to manipulate visual, auditory and kinaesthetic senses. But better still, do the same without. Yes, there are skills to editing. Instructional design is a specialty within my field. Yet the delivery, presentation skills, is all you. I’ve got a complete program, ‘Orator’, targeting this gift. Here are 7 quick tips:

  • Appeal first to the heart then the head.
  • Master stories. Stories appeal to all the important senses.
  • Simple, succinct facts take care of the common sense and logic. Simplify facts to the core.
  • Keep flowing. Don’t get stuck on specifics. You’re the only one who knew what you were going to say.
  • Your energy is the ignition to spark the fire. How engaged do you want your audience? Throw that zest on the fire!
  • Be authentic and candid. An original, truthful you is better than any kind of fake, puppet mouthpiece or copy.
  • Nerves are normal. Nerves show you care. Embrace your nerves and have fun.

You can access some of this program content, including modules and tools from ‘Orator’ presentation skills program, via a complimentary profile in my online academy and learning management system:http://portal.markcarter.com.au/planRegister

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