Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Speakers are not Heroes

Delivering no less than 4 presentations a month in face-to-face and webinar form has made me take things for granted at times. Less planning time despite my presentation deck having reasonably useful content.

When I got hold of the book "Resonate" by Nancy Duarte, the ideas sparked my curiosity.

As I have a January 5 webinar on Professional Blogging, Social Media Marketing, and Advertising, decided to dump my old deck and take the risk of trying out the process Duarte suggest in her book. Here is the new deck.

This required a change in perspective and process on my end - specifically in these two (2) areas:

1. The audience is the hero. The presenter is the mentor.

While it is clear that the role of a speaker is to inform and inspire the audience, Duarte reminds that the speaker is a mentor - not a hero.

The audience is the hero. However, the mentor needs to provide enough motivation and guide. Inputs to help them decide whether to proceed with the journey.

When pitching for an idea, got reminded there will always be a possible refusal. Often triggered when the audience perceives how tough the journey can be. ("It is a nice idea. But I am not like you who has these resources and networks that can make things easy.")

A mentor can also connect better with the audience by having shared journeys (showing qualification), experiences, and common goals.

Whether they will commit to change and cross the threshold shall totally depend whether the mentor will resonate with the target audience.

2. Planning the presentation form.

I have a tendency to cram my deck with information, trivia, screenshots, and other info. However, Duarte warns that this may work in reverse and overwhelm the audience. Her presentation form intrigues me.

Duarte observed a lot of great presentations have:
  • Motivating structure using emotional and analytical contrast. 
  • Use the form of "what is" and "what could be" to show the wide gap.
  • Call to adventure.
  • Communicate and support a big idea.
  • Strengthen by stories.
  • Call to action.
  • Promise of bliss or reward.
What I like about the above process is it encourages focus and brevity. Made me conscious as well whether the original idea am trying to convey will be received or not.

I'm starting a journey. Changing the way I present ideas and share knowledge. Wish me luck.

Here are some presentations I've made where lessons in this book got applied: