Presentation Tip: What Do You Believe?

Big, Bold Belief

In life, we humans act according to what we believe, don’t we? And when presenting, especially when the pressure is on, we will do what we believe “works” when we’re in front of that client.

Well, I had a wild ah-ha during physical therapy for my hip replacement last week. My PT said, “Without holding on, step up with your right foot.” Now, I could not imagine, picture, figure out, most of all, believe that I could lift my right foot onto that 6″ step. I said, “You’ll catch me if I fall?” My PT opened her arms wide.

The ah-ha? My body didn’t need the support, but my brain did not believe it. Belief. It’s essential, it’s life-changing, and for presenters, it’s game-changing.

The challenge is that what you believe “works” when you’re presenting is often not working from your audience’s perspective. Take body language for example. When many presenters use body language, they feel like they are over-the-top enormous. Not so from the audience’s perspective. Likewise, many of us fill our PowerPoints with wordy bullets. Rather than reading your slide, the audience would prefer that you talk with them.

So, how do you become a believer that something new might work better? You have to test it. Here are your keys to a successful trial run:

1. Test the waters in a safe place. That is why we rehearse!

2. Try. Really try! Half-way or lukewarm will never get you anywhere!

3. Surround yourself with people you trust. Let them know you’re trying something new. Then listen to their feedback. And apply it!

4. Know that you are not alone. Like my PT, there are people who will catch you. Your team has your back. They will never let you go too far.

I could not fathom how I was going to do the PT exercise. For that first step, I b-a-r-e-l-y rested my hand on my PT’s outstretched palm, and I found the courage to try. I took the step, and it had absolutely nothing to do with holding on. I went on to do the rest of the exercise – no hand, no railing, just belief! It’s huge, essential, and life-changing.

— Carol

Tales from the Field

Tales from the Field

We were preparing for a major shortlist presentation, and I was “informed” a day or two prior to our prep sessions that we would be coached in preparation for the interview. I knew almost nothing about Graceworks, and I was initially very skeptical as my personality is generally sort-of quiet and steady, requiring a lot to get me excited or emotional about something.

In working with Graceworks, it seemed as if there was as much “coaxing” as there was “coaching,” but the experience for me was great in that the coach was able to help identify, simplify, and focus my message. Graceworks’ excitement and enthusiasm brought an overall focus to the team, which allowed all of us to gain a high comfort level and belief in what we were trying to convey, as well as a belief in how we were delivering our message!

Since the interview, I find myself consciously using my hands and body more in team meetings and conversations. Also, I try purposely to keep my message simple and more succinct. I am looking forward to the next opportunity to work with Graceworks to help me grow personally and professionally.

John Sobiecki, LEED AP
Senior Project Director, Principal
Albany, NY

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