7 Rules of Sticky Presentations! – Why have rules?

7 Rules of Sticky PresentationsWithout rules you are toast. 

A few years ago a Rotary group asked me to speak at their weekly event. The person that invited me had talked me up to the group and expectations were high. Rotary LogoThey were expecting me to deliver a spellbinding speech along with a fantastic PowerPoint presentation. I did everything wrong. I started by creating the slides, then I decided how to speak. And then I practiced. Once. There were no butterflies bothering me. I was going to wing it and the audience would love me.

I was ready.

I walked in to the restaurant where the Rotarians met every week and introduced myself to the 20-22 people in the room. I enjoyed a breakfast of ham and eggs while the other Rotary proceedings were going on. Then it was my turn to speak to the group. Steve, the gentleman that had invited me had a long and flowery introduction to introduce me to the group. I felt like a celebrity. I was ready.

What could go wrong? And nothing went wrong. Until I got up to speak!

At first I felt a fluttering in my stomach. I told myself it would go away. But it didn’t. And then the top of my head started itching and I scratched it. Now I looked like I was trying to remember my presentation speech and was scratching my head in an effort to remember the next line. Then my voice started to go, I had suddenly developed a bad throat irritation. Anyway, I stumbled through the 6-8 minute presentation and today I have no memory of what I said. (And probably neither does my audience!)

That’s right, I failed miserably. When I finished, Steve who bragged about me and convinced the powers to allow me to speak could not even look me in the eye. I took their valuable time and had a great breakfast on them and I delivered nothing in return.

I vowed to never let that happen again.

Ever. So I went about trying to study the masters of presenting and see how they approached presentation preparation. I studied Garr Reynolds and his book “Presentation Zen”. I spent time with “Slideology” and with “Resonate” by Nancy Duarte. My personal hero, Sean D’Souza also has a series of books on the subject called Blackbelt Presentations that I studied. And numerous other books like “Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs” and “Better Beginnings” by another lady I admire, Carmen Teran. All said and done, I was able to get ideas from all of these books and develop a plan of my own that had some things common to what these authors were extolling but also had my personal spin to it. For example as you see more blog posts about the 7 Rules, you will notice that none of the books or authors talk about how important presentation titles are to the success of a presentation, but I feel it is important enough to include as one of the 7 rules. Not one of the authors talk about how important practice is to the success of a presentation but I feel it is a pillar that can make or break your presentation delivery. My guess is that they do not talk about it because it is obvious that if you are presenting, you need to practice! And yet, hundreds of presenters get on stage every day without spending enough time on practicing their presentation delivery.

That’s when things started to change. 

So as I began applying the 7 rules to my own presentations, I found that the quality of my presentations improved. My delivery was more confident, the butterflies were flying in formation! I started creating and delivering presentations that resonated with the audiences. Last week I conducted a 1.5 hour seminar with confidence and passion and from the feedback I got, I made my point with power! Because I was able to get almost the entire room interested in joining me for a day long paid seminar, I think there certainly was proof in the pudding.

What made the difference? I uncovered a 7 rule process to create great presentations from scratch. Wouldn’t that be helpful to you? Follow me here at the blog as I go through the 7 rules and tell you about each one and how following rules can help you too.

In the next post, I will go over Rule #1, which is Strong Titles!

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