I had two experiences within a 10-day period that captured a stunning paradoxical picture:
One morning, I’m in a hotel elevator with a 40ish fellow dressed in a suit. Feeling a little chatty, I said, “Good morning. Do you have a big day ahead?” He thought seriously for a moment and said, “Hmm, not really. I’m attending a company conference. They’re kinda sleepy.”
What? Sadly, that’s what many professionals expect when they attend conferences or presentations. Sleepy. In fact, people have told me they purposefully carry other things to do to multitask because they expect to be bored. As presenters, what do we do about that? Fast forward 10 days.
We’re in the midst of day one of our two-day presentation/communication training workshop with a construction firm. As many of you know, we lead the group in some big and bold warm-up exercises to pump up the energy, get the jitters out, and help the trainees feel more comfortable when presenting.
Well, one of the construction superintendents threw himself into the game full blown — full blown enough to split the back of his pants wide open! I must say, that was a first for Graceworks! He was awesome. Right after the game ended, he let us know he had a little problem and excused himself. A few minutes later, he reappeared with his pants duct-taped together. Carry on! You know — duct tape fixes everything!
Why these two stories?
The superintendent brought full energy and effort to the activities. He held nothing back and committed 100% to the moment. That’s what your audiences need to keep them from falling asleep; they need your full commitment!
What does your 100% look like?
Will you bring so much physical energy that you actually sweat? Will you leap outside your comfort zone to help your listeners stay engaged? Will you dare to go big and bold with your body language? Will you practice out loud at home? Will you show up at the rehearsal even when it’s not convenient?
Bring your full effort, energy and commitment, and you’ll have your audiences in the palm of your hand. It’s worth giving everything you’ve got. Just remember to pack your duct tape.