Presentation Tip: Will You Bring Your 100%?

Split the Back of Your Pants

I had two experiences within a 10-day period that captured a stunning paradoxical picture:

Story One:
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.

Story Two:
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.

— Carol

Tales from the Field

Tales from the Field

What are your biggest fears? Heights? Small spaces? Public speaking, perhaps? Mine was kickball.

As a kid, I excelled in academics and the arts, but avoided sports at all costs. I was lanky, shy and painfully uncoordinated. Team sports were the absolute worst! I didn’t want anyone to see how bad I was, and I definitely didn’t want to let my team down in the field.

Fast forward to adulthood; I was still sitting on the sidelines afraid to play team sports and possibly make a fool of myself. But in January of this year, I made the bold decision to face one fear a day for the entire month. I auditioned for a musical. I held a scorpion. And I. Played. Kickball.

I signed up for an open-play kickball game in my neighborhood. With a pounding heart and sweaty palms, I met my temporary teammates and took the field. And I was bad. But not THAT bad! I got on base seven times. I even scored a run and forced an out. But, what was more important is that I had an amazing time and met some fun, supportive people. I was even invited to join a team, despite my shortcomings.

These experiences have inspired me to let go of my fears and live with boldness in an effort to learn, grow and achieve great things. There were moments that I felt real terror, but hundreds more moments of adventure, pride at my accomplishments, and joy that I had perhaps inspired someone else to face a fear or two of their own.

Fear limits our potential in everything – our work, our careers and our lives. When we make the conscious choice to be BIG and BOLD and push beyond our fears, amazing things can happen. You will never know until you try!

Sara Libby, CPSM
Manager, Marketing Information and Resources
SWCA Environmental Consultants

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