Getting back in the saddle – recovering from presentations from hell…

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 by Simon Morton

The gang here at Eyeful Towers know that this presentation lark isn’t particularly easy. 

horse-saddlesWe’ll often get asked into work with companies, and specifically presenters, who have had what we call in the business “a bit of a shocker” at their last presentation. 

Not only is this incredibly uncomfortable at the time, it can also make them a tad nervous about putting themselves through the whole horrible experience again next time round.

This is a common problem and for the experienced presenters out there, it’s a relatively small bump in the road that can be worked through with ease.  For those less acquainted presenters out there, it can start a terminal decline in their presentation confidence and ultimately abilities. 

Not good.

So in true Eyeful style, we thought we’d put together the top 5 tips for getting over a harrowing presenting experience.

1.  Get specific feedback

A lot of times people have an abominable presentation they scurry out of the room, tail between their legs never to be seen again. It’s a natural response but completely the wrong thing to do.

Hard as it may be, you need to understand from your audience what went wrong and listen out for some guidance on how to put it right  Then write it down (this will be handy for tip 2).   

Heck, sometimes you might even find it wasn’t as bad as you thought. 

2.  Learn from the mistakes

Asking for feedback may have seemed a tough call but actually putting the corrective measures in place is even tougher.

Face facts – if you’ve gone to the trouble of getting feedback you have to make very good use of it.

3.  Go back to the basics

You may have heard us mention this once or twice (!) but ensure the core basics of your story are straight before double clicking the presentation software icon.  Once you’ve got the message, content and design (in that order!) in place, there’s no substitute for practising like nobody’s business. 

Boring?  Yes…  Essential?  Damn right.  

4.  Go first to comfortable places

Once you’re ready (make it as soon as possible after the botched presentation), get amongst friends and present again.

Quite often presenting to those you know is more terrifying that strangers – but in this instance make sure they know of your bad experience and collect together warm encouraging folk to road test your next session.

This serves two purposes – to get your courage back and to get some feedback on the presentation itself.

5.  But then go into the valley of danger

Finally you have to get back in the saddle. It’s an old saying, but that’s because it’s largely true.

The longer you leave it the more of a monkey on your back this can become.

Do the first 4 steps then be brave make that final leap – it’ll be worth it in the end.  We’re right behind you…

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