I’ve been talking a lot about presentations lately. My new signature talk is titled, “Disruptive Presentations ™” and one of the components is “Honor.” (Of course, I think honor goes into everything we do!) I believe when you give a presentation, one key aspect is to honor your audience. You don’t have to be a professional speaker for any of what I am saying here; this is true if you are an attorney at trial, a financial planner working with a client, or a salesman giving a territory update to their management team. Everyone presents at some point to somebody. You just may not call it a presentation.
There are a number of things to consider to honor your audience. Here are 3.
- Honor your time commitment. Don’t talk longer than you agreed. If you get a late start, ask how much time your client or audience has. Then stick to that. If you only have 15 minutes and originally you had 40, too bad. Talk for just 15 minutes. Otherwise you are inconveniencing them, which is rude. Their time is as important, or more important, than yours in this scenario.
- Honor their interest. Don’t bore the poor dears. Know what they will find the most important to hear and tell them that. Don’t add more than that. Keep in mind that we can only retain a couple of things. Make it interesting and net it out. That means, just give them the highlights, not every single thing you know. Unless, of course, they ask for more. If you have done your homework and know what their issues or concerns are, you can present compelling information that is of great interest to them. And you should tailor your message to them.
- Honor the message. Your audience will appreciate that you have given attention to your preparation and delivery. That includes creating the perfect visuals, (see my earlier thoughts on PowerPoint here), adding some humor, if appropriate, and telling a story or two that help to illustrate your point. In addition, remember that your language matters. Don’t talk down to your audience, and stay away from clichés and industry jargon or acronyms.
At the end of your presentation or conversation with an individual or group, you want to feel great about how and what you said. You want the audience to feel great, too! Honor them by doing your best, so that they can receive your best!