Have you ever noticed that some of your best presentations may have been the ones you prepared for the least? Sounds backwards, doesn't it?
If you have ever given a presentation that has to be just "so," and took a lot of practice for it to be exactly the way you want, the biggest problem you may have after lots and lots of practice is that it looks too "rehearsed" or "polished."
You may think being polished is good, but in truth only one thing is good: your audience connecting to - and relating to - you and your message. If you are too polished, that connection won't happen - you will instead create a separation between you and your audience. So what's a presenter to do?
The first thing to do is to focus on your audience, and how they will benefit from what you have to say. The opposite of this is to focus on what will make you look good. My friend Tony recently shared with me that he imagines there is one person somewhere in the audience who really needs to hear his message (maybe it's a matter of life and death), but he doesn't know which audience member it is.
He then has a conversation with all the members of the audience, connecting with them individually as far as possible in order to reach that one person at the very least. One way to practice presenting in a more natural way, is to give your presentation sitting at the kitchen table, talking to a close friend (or at least pretending a friend is there). Taking it one step further, practice while eating a meal. Just making it very informal and conversational is powerful. The more you practice it that way, the better it will be when you deliver it.Try being more natural and conversational when you present. You may already do that - consider trying even harder. I think you will like it. Remember that there is a range of how naturally we deliver - and typically we may be at different places within that range on different days. Work toward more consistently natural presentations, and you will not only be more effective as a presenter, your audiences will be happier and will take away more of what you have to offer.
Let me know how this works for you. If you already work towards being more natural as a goal, let me know that, too. I'd love to hear from you either way.
Please email me with any questions you may have. Whatever you do, keep improving.
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