Presentation Skills Ladder, level-2
Where are you on the “Presentation Skills Ladder” (Part 2)
FOCUS LEVEL 2 – CONTENT (IT)
For presenters to try to take the focus off themselves, they will generally try to put the focus onto their content. Whilst this is better than being frozen or looking foolish, it has its own barriers to inspiring followers and action.
It usually only takes one or two times for the “lost-track ramble” to happen before people decide they are going to be more prepared. They will write their presentation out word for word and read it as if it were a speech. Often, they will have slides that are heavy with text and repeat what they are saying. Some will even read their slides to people. One challenge (of many) with this is that people can read faster than you can speak and are then waiting for you to catch up to them. Even if people were going to do what you wanted before your presentation, after being “read to” like children, they are discouraged from even doing that. In addition, they have retained very little of the volume of information you have provided.
Somewhere around this point in someone’s career (where they have responsibility for P&L, budgets, projects and/or teams), their presentations will transition from focusing on themselves and the content to the information they think is needed by people to achieve the goals and objectives of their area of responsibility. Whilst presentations at this stage tend to have less volume, they tend to come from a position of authority (here’s what I want/need you to do). As a result, people may do what the information tells them to (comply), but they won’t believe it’s right. They also are unlikely to take any initiative. What they have been told to do it likely to be the maximum result that will be achieved (if that). Research from the AON Hewitt “Employer of Choice” surveys show that people who have been informed of what is expected of them produce somewhere between what they think is the minimum allowable performance (What I have to do to not get fired), and about 80% of what they have been told is expected (KPIs). Like drones, they will go where they are directed, and that’s about all.
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