Mindset shifts that fundamentally changed how I give my presentations
As a PM in one of the leading B2B SaaS companies in the world - I give a lot of presentations. Some presentations are. to potential customers to support deal cycles, others are to partners and existing customers ,some are exec presentations when defining roadmap and vision and others are large presentations (200+ audience) at conferences like Dreamforce / Webinars like the one.
I haven't always enjoyed giving presentations.Thoughts of comically stuttering and forgetting what I wanted to say were pretty top of mind :) But over the years I've starting enjoying these a lot more and I want to share some mindset shifts that have helped me give effective engaging presentations.
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1) Mindset shift #1 : A presentation is an OPPORTUNITY to get your story across to the other person(S) in the room.
Think about the last time you went about doing something you thought was a chore e.g. Laundry or taking your car to a repair shop - how easy was it to procrastinate or put off doing that? . How about when you had to do something fun like a friendly cooking/ sport competition with your friends - how easy was it to prep for that ? When you look at anything as something that just needs to be dealt with vs an opportunity / challenge you will enjoying doing - your attitude and enthusiasm to prep for it changes accordingly. A presentation to anyone is a great opportunity .You have people giving up their most valuable resource - their time - to listen to your story and what you have to say. It's like that dream gal/guy agreeing to go out on a date w/ you TBH - it's an honor and a privilege. You are the CHOSEN ONE. Get excited and roll up your sleeves ! :)
2) Mindset shift #2: - A presentation is a story only YOU are capable of telling :) The audience doesn't care about errors
One of the foremost fears someone has is "what if I forget what I had rehearsed or planned to tell . What if I forget what to say (gasp!) " . Listen, the audience on the other end doesn't have a clue what your presentation is about. YOU are the subject matter expert. So you skipped a line you had rehearsed ? No big deal ; Screwed up a number as you were going over it ; Pfft .. forget about it . Just have fun with YOUR story. The goal isn't to be perfect - its about having an effective conversation. More about this in the next point below.
3) Mindset shift #3 : A presentation is first and foremost a conversation with your audinece - so the most important thing is to get across your point to the other person
This is a big one. Probably the one that helped me the most. Ever been to a presentation where the presenter was going a mile a minute with their preso ? Any presentation where the presenter was so disengaged from the audience with no eye contact and is visibly nervous? Where the material doesn't seem to make sense because it isn't tailored to you?
The reasons why the above happen is because the presenter is intent on "getting through" all of their material . "I have 30 slides and 30 mins - so much material - let me blast past it", is a dangerous thought. A presentation is a conversation with your audience. When conversing with another person we watch for visual cues, we see if they are comprehending our statements , we make adjustments as necessary to ensure the point is driven home. A presentation is the same thing. It's a conversation with a larger audience. Ensuring they are engaged and are understanding your message is paramount. So don't worry about getting through your slides and watch for visual cues and go slow. So think about this when tailoring/ creating your presentation. Develop the habit of checking in at places in the preso to ensure your audience is aligned.
Hopefully some of these mindset shifts resonated with you and helped. What helps you prep for presentations ?