Are Your Presentations Heartless?
Have you ever sat through a meeting or presentation and thought, “When is this going to end? It’s so boring I’d rather clean my bathroom.”
It’s ok to say yes. You’re not alone. The good news is presentations (and meetings!) don’t have to be boring. Keep reading to find out how to bring more heart into your business presentations.
Are your presentations heartless?
In January I took my 13 year old niece Abby to the Twenty-One Pilots concert at the Dunkin Donuts center in Providence, RI. If you’re anything like I was at the time you might be wondering, “Who the heck are Twenty-One Pilots?”
They are Tyler Joseph and Josh Dunn, a twenty-something rock duo from Ohio. If you listen to popular radio you may have heard some of their often-played songs including Stressed Out, Heathens and Ride. Their music crosses genres. You might hear pop, rock, rap, techno and alternative rhythms all in one song.
In an effort to
impress, ahem, connect with my niece, I promised to download their albums and learn all of the songs before the live show. So I spent evenings cooking dinner and memorizing Twenty-One Pilots song lyrics.
To my surprise, I liked what I heard.
One song in particular captured my attention: Lane Boy. The song chronicles the bands strife with the music industry to pick one “lane” or genre of music and, for marketing purposes, stick to that. But the band isn’t having it. Josh and Tyler are multi-faceted and want to bring their uniqueness into their music.
They sing, (To listen to the song on YouTube click here. You’ll hear the lyrics around 45 seconds in.)
“All these songs I’m hearing are so heartless. Don’t trust a perfect person and don’t trust a song that’s flawless.”
Which, upon hearing it, I immediately translated to…
“All these presentations are so heartless. Don’t trust a perfect person and don’t trust a speech that’s flawless.”
Let’s face it, (warning: tough love) presentations are often boring and heartless
Let me be clear. It’s not the information that’s boring. It’s the way the information is presented.
My clients include analysts, executives and finance/operations professionals who work with numbers and data. They are super smart and do amazing work.
The problems arise when they need to present or talk about the information. Some of what happens includes:
- Use a lot of jargon
- PowerPoints full of charts, graphs and text
- No story, a lot of telling
- No audience involvement
- Monotone voice
- The presenter sounds bored
- The audience looks bored
It’s time to add more heart into presentations
Human connection happens through emotion (heart). Not from numbers and data (head). We need both (more on that in a future newsletter).
Whether in sales, client management, leadership or some other role where you want people to think or act a certain way, you must be able to move people into action.
Consider the following strategies to get started:
1. Tell Stories
Client stories, career stories, stories from every day life. For example, in this blog post I used a personal story about taking my niece to a concert and related it to communication and presentations.
According to an article on duarte.com,
“…Stories cause chemical, physical, and emotional responses. When stories make people feel things like trust or kindness, the brain releases oxytocin, which motivates cooperation by enhancing empathy. This means that stories make people more likely to adopt new ideas and act based on those ideas.”
What stories can you tell to help get your message across in a more heart felt way?
2. Tap Into What Excites You
In my work I love watching people accomplish things (public speaking, difficult conversations, sales pitches) they didn’t think they could accomplish.
- Formal presentations: “What excites me or is interesting about this presentation/information?” (Ask even if giving bad news. The solution represents possibility.)
- Elevator speech: “Why do I do what I do?” or “What do I love about my work?”
3. Forget Perfection
Perfection focuses on you. Turn attention to the audience and seek excellence and connection instead.
Presentations don’t have to be heartless
Find the courage to challenge the norm, try new things, and bring more heart into your verbal communication.
Otherwise, folks may leave to clean the bathroom and won’t hear a word you said.
Your turn to talk to me
- In your opinion, what makes presentations engaging?
- Have you ever walked out of a boring presentation?
- How do you bring more heart into your business presentations and communication?
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