Friday, April 15, 2011

The State of Being Presented

One of the things we hear often is, "we don't do big keynote presentations—we don't need the kind of help you provide."

That couldn't be more wrong.

We ALL give presentations every day of our lives, whether we are conscious of it or not. Be it an introduction to a new business associate, a 15-minute sales call over coffee in a Starbucks, a designer showing (selling) their work to a client, or a 3,000 person audience at a corporate keynote event—we all present ourselves every day. You may be trying to communicate an idea to your marketing department in a conference room, or arguing one side of a topic in a symposium of your peers, you are most definitely giving a presentation.

Now, you may not be formally assembling a script, a deck of slides or practicing your message in a mirror, but each and every opportunity you have to meet someone new, convey a message, sell an idea or display a product, you are putting your ideas, your company, your product and your own self out there on display. And your audience is making subconscious and often conscious assumptions and decisions about you and your wares, be it good or bad.

Whether you know it or not, your posture, dress, gestures, appearance, eye contact, vocabulary, grammar, confidence, scent, handshake, and everything else that you take for granted is on display for people to judge you. A nervous tick might convey an unexpected message. An overly relaxed posture may exude arrogance or contempt. As a sales representative, a weak or overly strong handshake, or an overly strong cologne has just as much effect on your audience as the product you sell. What you DON'T say absolutely has an effect on your presentation to others.

All of these factors are components of corporate and business presentations, as well. How you stand in front of your audience or the eye contact you make (or don't make) are crucial components to connecting with an audience of 1 or 10,000.

presentation (prɛzənˈteɪʃən)
— n
  1. the act of presenting or state of being presented
  2. the manner of presenting, esp the organization of visual details to create an overall impression: the presentation of the project is excellent but the content poor
  3. the method of presenting: his presentation of the facts was muddled
  4. a verbal report presented with illustrative material, such as slides, graphs, etc: a presentation on the company results
  5. a. an offering or bestowal, as of a gift b. ( as modifier ): a presentation copy of a book
  6. a performance or representation, as of a play
  7. the formal introduction of a person, as into society or at court; debut

By any definition, a presentation is presenting something or someone to someone else. In every case, what you say and do absolutely matters to your success or failure.

Are you preparing to succeed or fail?