PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

It started back in the 90’s.  The media began focusing more and more on the effectiveness of what people were saying, not the truthfulness of it.

“So George, you heard what the press secretary said.  How do you think it will play?  Do you think the administration is going to be successful diverting attention away from the other issues?”  (Note: He is not being asked if what the press secretary said is true.)

While this was happening, the business world became more committed than ever to its love affair with euphemisms.  “Downsizing” and “rightsizing” were joined by “restructuring for optimal utilization of resources.”

And, of course, lawsuit paranoia and political correctness further put straight-to-the-point honesty on the endangered species list.

And what has it all led to?  It’s made people spin sensitive and cynical.
Now presenters at all levels of organizations routinely face audiences who are on guard against being fed a line.  They are spinners until proven otherwise.

Instead of starting out with assumed credibility and the challenge of maintaining it, speakers now start out with skeptical listeners and the need to quickly build credibility.

How do you do that?

Start with what they know to be true.  Acknowledge opposing arguments and give these arguments their due.  Avoid euphemisms and use clear, unequivocal language.  Back up claims with data from respected sources.  Don’t make claims or predictions that can’t be backed up.

Credibility is worth its weight in gold.  Only when audience members start thinking “I can trust this person,” does a speaker have the chance to succeed.

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