Whether you’re trying to connect with your audience through stories or some other way, you must remember that your presentation isn’t all about you. Audiences react very badly to arrogance and ego. These traits call up the same feelings you’ve probably had when you find yourself cornered by some dreadful, self-centered know-it-all at a cocktail party. He’ll tell you about what he is interested in, how hip he is, and imply that you are lucky to have met him. Meanwhile you’re thinking, “What a jerk!” and searching for any chance to escape. Why is that? It’s because his monologue doesn’t include you, your thoughts, or your point of view. Self-focused people don’t make connections. No one wants to date, work with, or sit through a presentation given by someone like that. So why is it that presentations are so packed with self-centered content?
Most presentations start with “me-ness.” Somewhere in the front of the slide deck is the dreaded “it’s all about me” slide that typically looks like one of the slides below.
It is important that the audience know something about you and your company. There are ways to communicate this information (like a handout) so you can focus on the people in the audience right at the onset and focus your presentation so it resonates at their frequency instead of yours.
When you present, it’s natural to believe your product or cause should be more important than anything else to your audience. You may even feel like you’re their hero, there to rescue them from their helplessness and ignorance. You may think, “If they only knew what I know, the world would be a better place.” But if you get up in front of them and rattle on about yourself, your ideas, and your products, you’ll be just like the self-centered jerk at the cocktail party, and your audience will want to flee.
Instead, embrace a stance of humility and deference to your audience’s needs. Begin the presentation from a shared place of understanding. Make it about the audience. To learn more about understanding your audience, explore the multimedia version of Resonate.