Stop: The Key to Achieving Sustainable Success as a Presenter

January 5, 2015

create-a-presentation-stop-doing-list-blogAs we kick-off the New Year, I wanted to share something I do at the end of every December. I recently wrapped up the process of creating two “stop doing” lists -- personally and professionally. I’ll be hones, it was a very eye-opening and humbling experience. Within just a few minutes, I was pinpointing some major flaws and bad habits in my presentation life.

Here’s a partial snapshot of mine:

-Stop procrastinating

-Stop letting email get in the way of content creation

-Stop looking at Facebook

-Stop working in a silo on presentations

-Stop confusing productivity systems for work

-Stop going to bed late


And, here’s why I would recommend you do the same as you think about your professional career.

Day to day, you are always being rewarded for things you are initiating and achieving – not those things you are stopping.

For instance, you may be praised for proactive behavior like:

-Arriving on time for work -- not stopping your lateness.

-Being more productive on the clock -- not stopping your water cooler talk.

-Delivering an amazing presentation -- not stopping your procrastination.

As humans, we get affirmation for things we add rather than things we stop, but that’s the wrong way to approach it.

I’ll give you an example.

Let’s say you want to be a better presenter in 2015. The typical response to create this new behavior would be to start adding to-dos and creating a checklist. That list might look something like:

-Prepare 7-8 times for every talk

-Become obsessed about presentation design

-Read one new presentation book a week

-Seek out professional training

-Go to a seminar once a month

-Model the successful presenters around me

The objective is ideal but the reality of maintaining this list of to-dos may only last a week or at most a month if you are a top performer. The sad reality is you will eventually find yourself burnt out and not doing any of the above after a certain length of time.

The solution?

Stop being a lazy presenter.


It’s much easier to stop one thing than add the six tasks above to improve the same bad habit. Based on the above, the choice to become a better presenter sounds much more daunting than just deciding to stop being lazy. So, when thinking about your own presentation “stop doing” list, it may only include a one-word statement like the above. Perhaps, it will include 5-7 items. The goal here: Just get it on paper so you can keep yourself accountable to eliminate those bad presentation habits.

What do you want to stop doing this year?

Author Bio

Scott Schwertly is the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki. If Scott is not working with his team building presentations, you will find him in the pool, on the bike, or on a long run. Scott lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and three dogs. He has a B.A. and M.B.A. from Harding University.

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