Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Leave Them in Awe

Have you ever been asked to make a presentation and you want to find a way to show to everyone what a great asset you are to society? Do you want to demonstrate to your audience how they can't even begin to measure up to you?

Then follow these easy to reproduce steps:
  1. Ignore Your Audience
    You want to make sure you know as little about your audience as possible. In fact, if there's a brief description of who the potential attendees and their backgrounds are, make sure you shred the document and remove all evidence that you received it. In this way you won't have to tailor your message. You can assume everyone has the same academic, business, and personal experience you do and they just want to be awed by your ability to focus on yourself.

    Bonus: Arrive just seconds before your presentation or, better yet, arrive late! This way you can avoid meeting and knowing anyone at the meeting.
  2. Use Technical Jargon and Terms
    Make sure you use as many technical terms and jargon as you can. This'll insure your audience is thoroughly impressed with your knowledge of the subject. If they can't understand you, that means you MUST be an expert!

    Bonus: Don't finish a sentence unless you've used at least one acronym. Aim for having a single verb and all acronyms if possible. If you can't think of one, remember TLA. It stands for "three letter acronym" or "two letter acronym." The fact that you have an acronym for the structure of most acronyms will impress even the most staid member of your audience.
  3. Avoid Humor
    This is a given. If you want to be taken seriously, you want to avoid humor at all costs. You are a serious speaker and it's about time everyone knew it. Keep them glued to their seats and glum if you can.

    Bonus: Some people will tell you that your audience will be able to relate better to you if you tell them stories, rather than just tell them about your ideas and how they should think of you. When you hear this, stand with your arms akimbo (superman pose) and stare them down without a word to say. That is the only stance for a great speaker and leader!
  4. Speak Monotone
    You want uniformity in everything that you do, including your voice. Make sure you use no voice intonations. You want to speak in a somewhat garbled, monotone voice. This will help your audience to practice patience and focus. It'll also insure they know that if they really want to learn of your prowess and knowledge, they have to pay close attention and come to the session with a strong cup of coffee...may be even a Red Bull mixed with a triple shot of espresso.

    Bonus: Nothing says "I'm eccentric" like mumbling your words. You can keep the audience on their toes by speaking in a low volume and stumbling over words, insuring your words are somewhat garbled.
  5. Have No Structure
    This is the coupe de gras of public speaking. When you start talking, start as if you've been in mid conversation with someone and everyone is already aware of the conversation. You really should focus on avoiding any summary at the onset of your talk. You also want to avoid any kind of summary at the end of the talk that may signal what you said or, for that matter, what was the point of the conversation.

    Bonus: I saved the best for last. The point of you speaking is to insure everyone is in awe of your expertise. You don't really care what they do about it or if they get any benefit from the talk. So, be sure to avoid asking them to do anything or to answer any questions. You want to start and leave the presentation with mystery...about who you are, what you do, why you're speaking and how anyone can get in touch with you. Leave them in the dark. That's the best way to insure you will always remain in their memory as the speaker they can never even fathom to understand or measure up to.

The Opposing View
Of course, if you want your presentation to actually succeed, do the exact opposite of each of these.

What Do You Think?
I'd love to know what other steps you think will seal the fate of a presentation and insure its failure. Be sure to comment here or email me your suggestions.