PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

Think about the way you greet dinner guests at your home.

Hopefully, you act enthusiastic about their arrival; give them your full, undivided attention; and make them feel welcome.  It would not be unusual if you stood in the foyer for a minute or two while taking their coats and exchanging pleasantries.

You may have a lot planned for the evening, and they may have arrived late, but you don’t make them feel rushed.  It would be bad form to start rapidly talking about the number of courses in the meal and the need to get started and keep things moving.  Your guests are more important than the food.  They are more important than your plans for the evening.

If you ever MC an event, try to keep this dinner-guest image in mind when you first take to the microphone.  You may have an ambitious agenda, and there may have been a delay in getting started, but don’t rush your opening or start immediately talking about agenda pressures.  Focus solely on your audience members and take the time to make them feel welcome.  Give them the true impression that they are your number one priority—not the program.

In the overall scheme of things, the brief amount of time it takes to do this will not have any measurable effect on your timetable.  You will be able to pick up a couple of minutes later without any problem.

When that anxious, meeting-manager voice in your head starts pushing you to rush your start, tell it to be quiet; you have guests.

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