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Adrian Pitt

Develop-meant Training Consultants


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Do good business people make great presenters?


ADRIAN PITT, Manager at Develop-meant Training Consultants, sticks his neck out to suggest that some brilliant business bods don't always make the perfect perky presenters!

OK, so, we can't all be good at everything. I can't boil an egg. I can't change a tyre. I can't eat three cream crackers with a glass of water on my head! However, what I CAN do is stand up and present in front of a group of people, (the clue's in the title of my company!). I plan ahead. Give it some thought. Take a bit of a step back and put myself in my audiences' sling-backs. What messages am I trying to get across? How am I going to do it? What methods am I going to use? Who's going to be there? How can I grab and maintain everyone's attention? How will they "buy in" to what I'm saying etc. You know the drill?

Now, I haven't cracked the "art" of networking yet (let me sort out egg boiling first, please!). I can't stand about, smiling sweetly, fully emersed in a conversation about car rental or novelty biscuit tins with my company logo on, however, at these events, I HAVE sat in on a few presentations from local business "celebrities"...

Cue "Mr Clickety Click". "Mr Clickety Click" has one of those PowerPoint presentation doofers in his hot and sweaty palms that moves the slides forwards and backwards. He thinks he's a modern-day Merlin and, by clicking hard enough and fast enough, he'll have everyone in the room under his spell. "Mr Clickety Click" has prepared 66 slides, where six would do, his graphics swirl in from all four corners of the blurry screen and, for those of you with 20/20 vision, he's plumped for a black background and grey text!

A few months ago, I was at another business exhibition where I happened upon "Mrs I'm Incredibly Enthusiastic, Yet Quite Patronising. I'm An Industry Professional and I'm Going To Talk "At" You". Now, ironically, aforementioned lady was conducting a workshop on "Effective Presentations Using Microsoft PowerPoint 2010". She was SO fantastic, she had a colleague in the front row videoing her with an iPhone.

What did I learn? Absolutely nowt. She'd completely missed the point of her workshop, had no clear aims and objectives, drifted totally away from PowerPoint 2010 and any of its new features and garbled on about what made a good presenter! A different kettle of tuna altogether! (I felt sorry for her friend at the front who clearly had arm ache and had forgotten to deodorise that morning!).

Fair enough. I know I'm a tad critical. It's awful when you're stood at the front and you KNOW there are other presenters/trainers in the room. I've been there, too. However, there should be NO excuse for some of the "basics" being forgotten.

So, it's interesting and I throw it out to you - I know as self-employed folk, freelancers, entrepreneurs, small business owners, call ourselves what we will - it appears to be that we need to be good at EVERYTHING. Should we automatically be "natural" presenters? After all, we have to sell ourselves and our businesses time and time again. Do those who lack the ability to present successfully do well in business? Is there a correlation?

I'd love to read your thoughts.


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