PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

I once coached a presentation team that was going to win or lose a large military contract based solely on its presentation.  There was going to be no written proposal, just a videotape record.  If the procurement people who chose this format were trying to create stress, they succeeded.

The audience was going to be made up of fifty military people who had been given—believe it or not—instructions not to show any facial expressions during the presentation.  I had never heard of anything like this before and it worried me.  The team members were already stressed out.  Facing an auditorium full of expressionless people could prove to be unnerving.

The team was going to be allowed bring six associates.  I urged these people to get there early and grab seats in the middle, close to the front.  I wanted them to provide the positive body language and expressions that would be absent everywhere else in the room.  

It sounds silly but it worked.  The presenters were encouraged every time they looked at an associate who was smiling or nodding.

This was an unusual situation.  One you are unlikely to ever face.  However, being an encouraging audience member whenever an associate is presenting is always a good idea. 

Valuable team members are not just strong presenters; they are also good audience members.

(Yes, the team won the contract.)

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