Updated: Jan 17, 2021
The Impact Presenting open-enrollment Washington DC public speaking class in October 2018 almost got cancelled because of Hurricane Michael. But the 8 participants who braved the weather to show up were rewarded with an amazing class.
What made this particular class unique was the number of attendees working for government and military agencies, non-profit, and foreign investment and trade organizations. In Washington DC, this kind of group is to be expected. Working for structured and formal organizations, people are required by organizational rules to present using a PowerPoint in a very specific way.
And as is the case with most organizations with these requirements, the participants spent way too much time preparing their slides according to strict rules and nothing else in the way of preparation for the talk itself. This led, as was to be expected, to presentations being one-dimensional.
Since we can't change the organizational rules, we focused on what participants could do to improve their talks without getting in trouble with their respective audiences, bosses, or organizations.
We focused on not only how to make their slides better but also, and more importantly, the technique of how to begin your presentation without slides (i.e. that title slide on the wall behind you).
We looked at how to put the slides away from time to time and tell a story, do a demo, or use other presentation techniques to make their talk more interesting.
We also practiced our storytelling to exemplify our data in a real-life situation, i.e. telling our audience about an experience we (or someone else) had in relation to the subject we are speaking about. Here is a quick clip of us activating our storytelling body language.
Overall, everyone learned and practiced speaking techniques which make the overall presentation more interesting, but without breaking their internal rules.
One key takeaway, as with most Impact Presenting workshops, was that PowerPoint is just a tool. As an analogy, it is like the trombone or snare drum or cymbals in an orchestra. It adds impact to the whole performance but is not very appealing on its own.
The hurricane went away, and everyone finished up a 2-day class with a new sense of showmanship, excited about now bringing even the most mundane subject to life in their future talks.
Join us next time! We are in the USA twice a year, so check our class dates, book a private lesson (in person or virtually), or get in touch for more info!