Presentation Tip: Spontaneity Rules

What's in Your Buckets?

Wish you could be inspired, responsive, flexible, creative and spontaneous every time you present? Beats the alternative, right? Ever feel scripted, tight, canned, boring, or just stuck? Help!

Pull out your Buckets ‘o Stuff !

Audiences are dying to hear you talk about the things they care about. Those issues would be your “Buckets,” and in every bucket, you need some “Stuff.” So rather than memorizing a script, or saying the right words at a given time, develop stories. By story, I mean anything, from building codes to landscaping, that brings out your passion. Then, as you present, based on your research and what your audience is telling you that day, you can choose what stuff to share!

How do you develop great stuff that you’ll be comfortable sharing?

1. Choose from the heart. Select stories that speak to you. They should be personal, positive and full of passion! The stronger you feel (not think) about your story, the easier it is to deliver. And your passion will light a fire in your audience!

2. Sculpt with intention. As you develop your stories, include points that further the plot and bring your story to the conclusion. No extraneous details! With our short attention spans, we crave the “Cliff Notes” version. Make a simple, road map bullet list (your notes) for each story; it will help keep you on track.

3. Practice with abandon. Instead of starting at the beginning and going to the end, repeating the same words over and over again (BORING!), mix it up. Practice your buckets out of order. For instance, practice the last bucket first. Usually, you’re tired at the end of your rehearsal, but if you put that last bucket first, you’ll practice it with focus and energy. It works!

The result? On presentation day, you’re prepared, but now you’re able to listen to your audience and make adjustments because you’ve got your Buckets ‘o Stuff!

It’s all about practicing to be spontaneous. Crazy concept, right?

PS   Oh yeah, use these same guidelines to prep for Q&A! Each person on your team should practice their own “Bucket ‘o Personal, Positive, Passionate Stuff Stories” that pertains to their role on the project.

—Carol

Tales from the Field

Tales from the Field

One of our design clients pursued a project with a Fortune 500 firm over a period of six months. The team was now called in for a final interview with the head of the company. Having presented numerous times already, the presenters were worn out, but they knew this presentation could seal the deal. So, they called Graceworks for help.

We quickly realized that the designers were bored with their stories; the long process had taken its toll on the team’s energy and heart. Refreshing a presentation is often harder than starting from scratch. It’s easy for material to dry up over time and bringing it back to life takes enormous effort.

This team blew us away with their tenacity and willingness. They changed their plans and worked right through the weekend. We knew the only way to win would be for each presenter to take a serious step outside their comfort zone and “bring it.”

And that’s exactly what they did. One person dared to stop memorizing and started speaking from their heart with passion. Another used body language that freed him to bring his story back to life. No one held back; there was full commitment. Not to mention the teamwork! They listened to each other, naturally ad libbing at appropriate times. Bottom line, they delivered a message that was personal, passionate and totally focused on the client.

What happened? They WON! Afterwards, the selection team told them, “The other firm may have been technically superior, but it was your passion that won us over. You were so excited about us and listened to us. We had to hire you.”

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