PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

The CEO of an investment company once asked me to observe his business development team speaking to a room full of financial advisors.

The level of presentation skills on display was reasonably high and the presentations were polished, but the audience was unengaged.  Then one of the presenters turned off the slide projector, pulled a flip chart forward, and started explaining an investment strategy by drawing diagrams as he spoke.

The audience noticeably came to life.  People started taking notes and raising their hands to ask questions and make observations.  As it was explained to me afterward, this speaker was doing exactly what these advisors themselves like to do: explain concepts with spontaneous diagramming.  He was speaking their language.

This speaker did such an obviously good job of connecting with the audience that I was surprised when the CEO declared that he never wanted to see that kind of presentation again.  He felt strongly that it ran counter to the sophisticated image he wanted the company to project.  He had “nothing against flip charts, but in the future they must be professionally done in advance of any meeting.”

I disagreed. 

The dynamic quality of real-time drawing was central to the speaker’s effectiveness.  Although more attractive, diagrams prepared in advance would not have had the same persuasive impact.

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