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Presentation Hell. Presenting to Zombies!

This past week I had the good fortune of sitting through at least 12 CEOs putting hundreds of people to sleep. Turning their audience into zombies and once everyone but the speaker was in a deep sleep… they present their call to action, they make their ask. Now if these presenters were hypnotists and the audience was hypnotized this would have been a great strategy. I assure you as a spectator fortunate enough to catch up on some much-needed zees … rest assured the audience was hardly hypnotized.

Here’s the thing, when you’re presenting, you don’t want to present every detail of every facet of every high-point and every low point of every story you ever heard in every life you’ve ever led. Not one presentation I witnessed in the last week followed the KISS principle… Keep It Simple Stupid.

Listen, boys and girls. What is the goal of your presentation? In most cases, it is to start a dialogue. Now if during a presentation you give every detail of every thought you’ve ever had, and if you were lucky enough to not drive your audience to check their phones, visit the lavatory, or catch up on sleep and they hear every word you say then there’s no reason for them to ask you a question. You left no stone overturned. No detail unexposed. They have no reason to ask you questions and you’ll have no idea if they’re interested.

When presenting, Have a little empathy. While many of us love the sound of our own voice, few of us want to hear anyone besides ourselves talking to us for over 10 minutes. KISS baby KISS.

The object of 90% of presentations is to get the worm on the hook. Not to land the fish. A worm on a hook, wiggling along in the water is a beautiful thing to a fish. The fish would never chomp down hard on that worm if you presented all your intentions… the long process of reeling the fish in, pulling it out of the water, putting it in the icebox, scaling it, gutting it, and frying it.  Nah if it saw what happened next, it wouldn’t bite down on that hook.

When presenting, the goal is to get the worm to bite.  Not to scare it away with the hook. If you do a good job, the dialogue will come and if you reel that fish in you’ll be having a fish for dinner. Be brief, gain enough interest that the interested bystanders will engage in further conversation. Then reel them in and get ready for a fish fry. That’s some good eating.