Recently, I attended one of the famous Highland March Professional Development Series featuring master networker Jason Kallio, President of ExpoVantage. Did he have great content? Yes. Was he prepared and organized? Yes. But that’s only part of the reason he won the crowd. He was funny, entertaining, and engaging. He made us laugh and he talked with us, not at us. He was in the moment and built on the comments that people shared.
As a public speaking expert, anytime I’m in the audience, I spend up to half the time looking at the audience to see how effective the presenter is. The answer lies in their focus. If their eyes are glued to the presenter, that’s great; otherwise there is a problem. All eyes were glued to Jason throughout the entire presentation. I have seen other prepared, organized, and structured presenters in that same room lose the audience. Why the difference? Content is a commodity; delivery is everything.
Jason is also a professional magician; so he adheres to the philosophy that every presentation is a performance. He realizes that excellent content that is well prepared is NOT enough to earn the audience’s attention. Great content must be delivered in a performance. Here are some of the reasons people loved him:
1) He opened with a magic trick that conveyed a major point about networking.
2) He invited participation and wove that participation into his presentation.
3) He was very much in the “here and now”. He used appropriate humor to respond to audience remarks, and got to know the members of his audience as he went along.
4) He spoke to each member individually, focusing his eye contact on one person at a time instead of doing the common superficial scanning.
5) He was excited because he knew he had prepared for a performance, rather than a presentation.
After watching and analyzing thousands of presentations, here is something I’ve learned: presenters who think their only responsibility is to disseminate information are usually painfully boring – irrespective of their content. Presenters who understand that their presentation is a performance usually win the crowd.
Make your presentation a performance by avoiding these 19 deadly delivery mistakes.