Home » Presenting is a Privilege

​In the world of presentations, there is a fundamental rule that is often forgotten: the audience is king/queen.

I was reminded of this recently at an event with a Who’s Who list of speakers who were experts in their field. The audience was made up of senior people who invested their time and money to be there – it was as friendly and enthusiastic a crowd as you could have hoped for.

And then things started going awry…

The first speaker didn’t inspire confidence.  He seemed to bumble through his slides, reading most of the bullet points out and looking genuinely surprised at some of the animations that befell him.

The audience started to look uneasy.

The next presenter was great – she got everyone back on track by sharing her enthusiasm for the topic and demonstrating it through stories, strong visuals and building a real connection with the audience.  The energy returned to the room.

Unfortunately, the entire morning was like a rollercoaster – for every engaging and prepared presenter, there was the cliched “bumbler”.  Outside of issues around message, structure, content and visuals (I could go on), the latter group displayed one consistent trait – a lack of respect for their audience and the event.

As a presenter, every presentation represents an investment in you by the audience.  It’s the obvious stuff like time and attention but also something more intimate – their willingness to connect with you and your story.

It’s a huge privilege…

Despite this investment on their behalf, we all too often see presenters pay scant regard for their audiences and simply “roll up” and deliver the same pre-canned, half-baked presentation that not only fails to interest the audience but also, from their tone and approach, bores them too.

When preparing your next presentation, please ensure the very first thing you consider is the audience – treat them with the utmost respect.

They are opening themselves and their minds up to your message.  They probably don’t need to, and, chances are, they have a whole bunch of other interesting stuff to be getting on with…yet they chose to invest their time, energy and attention in you.

Forget this at your peril.

I’ve seen it happen…and it wasn’t pretty.

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