Box of Crayons Blog


Becoming a Presentation Genius

Today, I’m teaming up with Mark Bowden at the HRPA Conference, where we will be talking about how to become a presentation genius.

Now, I make much of my living facilitating and talking in front of groups, so you might think it came naturally to me.

You’d be wrong.

Many years ago, I was asked to give a 75 minute closing keynote, and it went down something like this…

I’m in a ginormous ballroom, with possibly enough room for a thousand people. Tables are spread far and wide. Of the 400 or so people at the conference, perhaps 100 misguided souls have shown up for my talk. They somehow conspired to sit in a way that maximized the distance between themselves, scattered evenly and distantly across the space.

Someone tapped on the microphone and introduced me. Not even desultory clapping. Just silence.

And as I walked onto the stage, the organizer whispered to me, “Could you cut it from 75 minutes down to 45?”

I knew what I had to do

Get through those 45 minutes as fast as I could, ignore the waves of disinterest that were lapping my feet, get off the stage, and last but not least, go home.

And one other thing.

Learn from the experience

  • Understand and prepare for your audience and where their heads (and hearts) will be.
  • Manage for how the room is set up and understand its impact on the group’s energy.
  • Increase my awareness of my own state of mind (anxious, excited), and learn how to manage and channel that energy.

Since that time, I’ve learned a lot about giving presentations and leading engaging meetings.

When Mark and I first tossed the idea of creating an easy-to-use, easy-to-implement tool to help you be more engaging and powerful in your presentations, we started by studying what separated out the masters from the masses. What were the small but powerful actions we could take that removed resistance and increased engagement and insight in any program, no matter what the content?

If you can’t be at the conference, check out the Presentation Genius website for more information on our PG video training.

Check out this video, and learn a little more about how it works.

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