Inside the Mindset of a Stand-out Presenter
June 15, 2015
It’s an unfortunate fact but a reality: Most people don’t put enough blood, sweat and tears into their presentations. Don’t believe me? I encourage you to think about the last presentation you attended. You probably experienced one or all of the following:
A message that was not easy to follow or retain...check.
An over reliance on a PowerPoint template...check.
A delivery style that was awkward and uncomfortable...check.
It happens every single day in conference rooms and ballrooms across the world. In fact, according to Microsoft’s estimates of PowerPoint usage, there are 30 million presentations given each and every day. And sadly, most of these 30 million are given by presenters who settled with their content, design, and delivery, or perhaps even all three. [Insert a big giant sigh.]
It’s time to not settle. After all, this is 2015. This is the era of Google, the cloud, and mobile devices. It’s a time of amazing innovation, a technical explosion of sorts, where there is so much you can do today with your presentations from a technical and content perspective.
The Extra 21%
According to a recent Nielsen study, the average American spends 5 hours a day in front of the television. That doesn’t account for time in front of a phone, tablet, or computer. That’s 21% of someone’s life. Imagine what you can do or accomplish in this lifetime by utilizing that free/extra 21%. Now, think about what those extra minutes can do for your next presentation. Every presenter really has no excuse to not get focused. Instead of marathoning Game of Thrones this weekend, practice your pitch or start researching for that presentation.
General Motors made the bold choice in the 1990s to create Saturn to compete with Honda, Toyota, and Nissan. It was a bold move but instead of aiming for the top, they aimed for a lower standard by framing their business around affordable cars. It sounded strategic in the moment, but this position eventually killed them in the long run. The lesson for you: Always aim for higher standards with your presentations. It’s what separates the winners from the losers.
Like the above, here’s the honest truth: If you aren’t number one at your organization or in your field, you are in a dangerous situation. Adopting the mentality of “just getting by” is going to create a career full of worry. A presentation can be a make or break moment and another opportunity to separate yourself from the pack. Seek to be first and challenge yourself to improve your presentation style, approach, and outlook. Do not settle.
Settling is easy. So is being #2. The hard work is pursuing first and pushing yourself to higher standards. It’s not easy, but no one ever said the art of public speaking or presentations were easy. It’s hard work. Are you in?
Scott Schwertly is a 2x Ironman 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.