One of the things I got into earlier in my self-employment career was trying to speak at local meet-ups, conferences, and so on.
Sometimes, circumstances make it difficult to accept those engagements (priorities and all :). But I’ve always found different types of people have different styles of presenting.
The Journey of a Presentation
Anyway, one of my favorite apps on iOS is Paper by FiftyThree. I’ve been a fan ever since it first came out and I’ve used it for a variety of content. Everything from presentations to content in blog posts.
With their latest release (including the version on iPhone), they’ve been publishing content how to make sure you’re using the application to its potential.
Sure, some people don’t like it, but what else is new?
Anyway, in one of their latest messages, they mentioned the following quote that I like:
Turns out, a great presentation is not about what you have to say. Instead, a great presentation is when you get the audience to join you on a journey, where they find themselves in a new place at the end.
Here’s the thing: As much as I like that quote, I’d venture to make two assumptions:
- Some people will read that and think it sounds a little trite. Or maybe it sounds a little trendy, or maybe even a bit too “hipster.”
- Others will read it and begin thinking about their own presentations. That is, how they can make them more engaging.
If you’re of the former, the rest of this post is likely not for you; otherwise, continue reading. Maybe there will be something of interest.
My Style of Presentation
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not an authority on speaking. I am not the type of person you’d want to consult on giving public speeches.
I will say my approach to public speaking is following these self-imposed rules:
- Don’t intimidate the audience. Make the presentation as laid back as possible.
- Use Humor. We don’t all have the same sense of humor, so you have to keep this in check but include it when possible.
- Allow For Intermittent Questions. One of the challenges that comes with holding questions until the end is you’re up against the clock. People may not get their questions answered, and people may end up asking the speaker to go back to a point made 10 minutes ago. Why not just answer something as it arises?
Granted, none of these are hard and fast because you are constrained by the terms of the event. But I’ve found if you make yourself approachable and incorporate the above, presentations are easy to give and people take part in conversation.
My goal is to give a narrative through the content that I’m presenting. To do so, I use examples from my experience and try to invite others into that experience through questions and conversation. And I do this while walking the audience through the content in the presentation.
My Journey Isn’t Yours
No, it’s not everyone’s style. No, this won’t work for everyone. The point I’m trying to make is when trying to convert your presentation into a journey, this is one way to do it.