It’s not about you

The value of a presentation is NOT what you thought it was. Too often a speaker leaves the stage disappointed in their work, upset that a section hadn’t gone as well as planned, that a previous rehearsal had been better, that there had been a technical glitch. Get over yourself, it’s not about you.

The p cubed value of a presentation is assessed by the audience, not by the speaker. It is essential to recognise that the audience is not grading the presentation against any other version of the whole than the presentation that has just been delivered. The audience does not have a script that is checked for accuracy of delivery. The supportive media that is shown is the only media the audience view. If there has been a technical snafu this only raises mild disquiet. Even a stumbling nervous speaker is valued more highly than the speaker themselves perceive.

The worst critic of a presentation is the presenter themselves. A piece may have been poorly conceived, supported by distracting media and delivered in a faltering tone. If the audience receive the call to arms and are challenged, the presentation is a success. Similarly, an exquisitely crafted presentation that fails to connect is of little value. The audience hold all the scorecards of assessment.

Every good presenter should reflect on their presentation but that is only for further development not the piece itself. Guided by knowledge of the audience’s response one should consider the value of the story, how the media added to the whole and what was the true nature of delivery. The reality of planning, preparation and practise should be included in this reflection. Development comes on the review of all these factors, not just “how it felt”. It’s not about you, it is about the audience.

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