Monday, April 9, 2007

Presentation Lessons from the 2007 Masters

31-year old Zach Johnson made golf history on Sunday by fighting off Tiger Woods to win the 2007 Masters. There are two interesting things about his win. He posted a final score of 1-over 289, the highest winning score in the tournament's 71 year history. It wasn't pretty, but he won. And, he "settled" for birdies (and got them) on the par 5's while others were trying for eagles (and failing).

So what does this have to do with presentations?

Good question.

The first thing is that a good presentation must have a game plan. It doesn't have to be flashy, just effective. Last week at the Masters the conditions were horrible and Zach Johnson had the best game plan to take the top spot. If fact, his approach probably would not have been as successful in previous years. But this was 2007.

He didn't drive the ball the farthest, but he was accurate. He didn't try to reach the green in two on the par 5's like everyone else. His strategy was to not to fight the wind, but take what the course would give him and use it to his advantage. He was content with birdies.

Shorter drives + more accuracy = green jacket.

Good presenters also recognize that they must have a plan going into a presentation. What do you want the audience to do or think as a result of your speech? More importantly, why? Why should they care? Why should they act? Answer these questions and you'll be well on your way to a successful outcome.

The other thing good presenters do is they aren't afraid to make mid-course corrections. What always worked in the past may not be as effective today. Assess the conditions and adjust accordingly.

Now it's time to Hit Your Stride...

Your Turn #1: What is everyone else doing in presentations that you shouldn't be? Do your co-workers always use PowerPoint? Next time consider shaking things up by presenting without it. I guarantee you'll be remembered.

Your Turn #2: In your next presentation how can you stay within yourself to get more than you expected? Don't try to be like someone else. Don't try to do too much. Focus on one thing and nail it.

Happy speaking,

Steve Hughes
Speaker - Trainer - The Presentation Guy

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