It may have been over 20 years ago, but I remember the day as if it were yesterday. It was one of my first presentation coaching experiences and the stakes could not have been higher. I was about to meet with the CEO of a large company who had hired me to help polish his delivery skills for an upcoming keynote. His assistant informed me that his presentation had already been written and the slide deck was complete. Driving to meet him, I visualized how I wanted the session to go and my overall goal for this CEO—for him to deliver the most powerful presentation of his career.
The meeting began with a quick review of his goals, the presentation goal, as well as my overall objectives for our time together. To get us started, I immediately had him do a first run of his presentation. Within the first few minutes, I found myself a bit confused. I could not quite decipher the overall purpose or goal of his presentation. I mean, I knew his goal from what he had communicated to me earlier, but that particular goal was not surfacing based on what he was saying. As I searched for the story and meaning in the presentation, I suddenly found myself distracted by the data on his slides which didn’t particularly help in conveying a message. It was in that moment where I had a breakthrough that would shape all future communication coaching experiences from that day forward.
You see, standing before me was a brilliant man and a very capable speaker. The problem is that he, like so many of us, became a prisoner to a deck of slides and a story that was not his. I decided to hit pause for a second and, despite the fact that the presentation content and deck was complete, we needed to complete his story. And, by story, I don’t mean “Once upon a time” I mean we needed to create a presentation story that would take his audience on a journey. The truth is, this CEO never really needed help with his delivery skills, what he needed help with was creating a story that was his, a story that he could own, a story that would allow him to reach his ultimate goal.
What I witnessed that day was someone who suddenly became in command of his story which translated into him being in command of the room.
So often as speakers we become consumed with our content and, even worse, can become a mere prop to a slide deck designed to deliver the content of our presentation. This process handicaps our ability to execute a powerful delivery. In the end, in the absence of story, a presentation is merely content that lacks context, meaning and emotion.
Need help creating your next presentation story? Contact 3 Voices to learn how or visit Voice – our award winning presentation skills experience being delivered in 30 countries across the globe! https://3voices.com/workshop/presentation-communication-skills-experience/
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