When you present, are you at risk of focusing too much on your topic?
Usually, you’re chosen as the speaker (or as a subject-matter expert for a training project) because you’ve deep knowledge of your subject. But sadly, that means it’s all too easy for your audience to become overwhelmed or confused by the detailed knowledge you might try to present.
You and your audience see your topic differently
And even if your audience are as expert as you, they won’t have exactly the same background and perspective. So again, that makes it easy to lose them, because they see your topic differently from you.
What can you do then, to help bridge that gap between your listeners’ viewpoints and your own?
Well, recently I came across this great 2-minute video by Mark Kretschmar, which could transform your approach as a speaker or trainer (or even if you design training, as I do in my role as an instructional designer):
In Mark’s words:
“Here’s what I want you to never, ever do again:
Don’t present on a topic”
Mark Kretschmar (at 0:16)
You might be wondering how you can speak in public without speaking on a topic. Thankfully, the quote below addresses that point exactly…
Given that there will be a presentation or talk, Mark says:
“The real question is: Why? So what? …
So that the people in the room will – what?”
Mark Kretschmar (at 1:24)
That’s a powerful way to rethink your speaking
I think that’s a such a simple yet powerful way to rethink your speaking. And it works beautifully if you’re making e-learning or other training too. Your audience’ll get much more out of it as a result, which means you’ll achieve your own speaking goals better, too.
Mark’s idea also ties in with 3 speaking tips I’ve written about before:
- Use “ABCD headlines” – where the A in ABCD stands for Action, and the B stands for Benefit, which are both focused on outcomes.
- Make your slide explain “So what?”
- Don’t just give an informative talk – give a persuasive talk.
Focus on the outcome
So, when preparing your talk (or training material), instead of being topic-focused, focus on the outcome – what your audience can achieve.
Over to you
What do you think of Mark’s idea? Do you think it’ll help you and your audience?
(Although I love Mark’s message, I can’t help thinking it’d be easier to take in if he didn’t keep pointing at his audience.)
- Why present? JFK said it all…
- Be the spark! Ignite ACTion with your talk
- Do your talks’ titles bore people? Use “ABCD” headlines to grab attention – and keep it
- Make your slide explain “So what?” – Secret #13 of star presenters, by Jean-Luc Doumont [Video]
- 3×7 tips to rivet people when you present (F!RST framework – part 1: Focus attention)
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