When it comes to presentation skills, sometimes it’s not the actual presentation that separates the masters from the amateurs. There are moments during every presentation that, at the time seem insignificant, but end up sticking with you for a long time. One of those times for me was an interaction that I had with a conference presenter.
It’s Not Just Presentation Skills – the Interaction Matters
The conference was ASTD 2011 (the largest annual conference for professional trainers) and there were close to 8000 attendees. Most session rooms were filled to capacity. I arrived early for the first session on the first day to snag a seat. Much to my surprise, the presenter was not in the back doing relaxation breathing or sitting behind a curtain looking over his notes one last time. He was mingling with the crowd; walking up and down the aisles. Welcoming the attendees and thanking them for coming to his session. He struck up conversations with various groups (including me and my other Red Feather friends) and then actually incorporated some of those discussions into his presentation.
In her recent Huffington Post article, Seven Speaking Faux Pas That Can Derail Your Speaking Career, RFN’s own Kelly Phillips reminds us of the impact a presenter can have on their audience.
“People gave up their time and money to hear what you have to say, and maybe even get to speak with you for a precious minute. Any interaction they have with you will stick in their memory for the long-term.”
I’m proof that Kelly’s right. Four years after that conference breakout session, I still remember the speaker and some of what he said. There are very few presentations that stick out in my mind that way. Don’t you want to have that kind of impact on your audience?
Polished and professional presentation skills are important, but don’t miss out on those other actions that truly set you apart from the average presenter. Read what else Kelly has to say about audience engagements, being unprepared for the inevitable, and what simple tool you should be using to fill seats and win gigs.