I recently did a talk with a group of young adults on the topic: Balancing Careers, Family and Fun! I told them that I was the “poster child” for this topic because I have been balancing these three things for as long as I can remember. I shared my experiences from when I had my first job right out of college to the ups and downs of making the transition from the corporate world to becoming an entrepreneur. There was a lot of laughter and I truly enjoyed sharing my life experiences. After I had received my feedback about the presentation, I noticed a common thread among the comments. The overwhelming response was that my audience felt engaged because I was so “transparent” and so “real.”
I was happy that the information was well received, but I was also a little taken aback. I don’t know what this young audience expected, but what I DID know was that I didn’t know how to be anybody else but ME.
Sometimes when people speak they maybe more concerned with WHAT they present and forget about the HUMAN side of presenting. Yes, it’s important about WHAT you say, but it also matters HOW you say it. People want to know WHO is the real person behind the presentation. Why was THIS person selected to present? What EXPERIENCE does the presenter have that is relevant and can the audience RELATE to it? And finally, what can the audience TAKE AWAY and use immediately once they leave?
If more presenters thought about these questions, they might rethink their flow of how they present. It’s crucial to get the audience involved by asking them questions and getting their thoughts on the topic being discussed. A presenter can learn a lot from an audience from just watching their body language and eye contact. Look for cues that will tell you whether or not your presentation is on the right track or if it is about to be derailed. In other words, the more the audience shows you, the more you should want to show them. Feed off them and and let them feed off you. Relax and just be yourself. Be conversational and have fun and watch how much easier you will connect with your audience and they connect with you. And finally, make sure you stay to true to yourself and to your audience. Your true authenticity will come out naturally.
WOYN TIP: Just Do You. It’s a lot easier than trying to Do Someone Else.