He had been preparing for this moment for months. So much was depending on him making a success out of the presentation he was going to give to his student body. Brad was their leader and it was time for an explanation of the many things he had promised to accomplish during his upcoming term. The anticipation was something everyone who gathered for Brad’s presentation could feel in the air. So could Brad. This made him a little nervous which was something he hadn’t felt in a long time.
After a brief introduction, it was now Brad’s turn to take the stage. Time seemed to stand still as he walked from his chair to the podium. He heard himself clear his voice and then looked out into what seemed to be a dense fog where he could make out the outlined images of those that had gathered to hear him speak.
He decided not to have a specific agenda and speak casually. The partying he did the night before wasn’t serving him too well at this point in time as he had a raging headache. In twenty minutes, it was over. Brad had a horrible feeling in the pit of his stomach that all did not go well with his presentation. He could just tell. People would barely acknowledge him and the uplifting energy that he had hoped to impart just wasn’t there. Sadly, he knew that this was all a result of the fact that he didn’t take the time to really plan and prepare for this all-important presentation.
Having never broken ties with his High School communications professor, Brad called Mr. Hazeltine and asked if they could meet for coffee.
“OK Brad. I know you’d only call me if something wasn’t going well. What happened?”, Mr. Hazeltine said over his freshly made Mocha Latte.
“Remember that list of Five Sure-Fire Ways to Be An Effective Communicator you shared with us the last semester of my class with you?”
“I sure do”
“Well, I need to hear it again!”
Mr. Hazeltine smiled and reminded Brad not only of what he had forgotten, but how, if Brad could have remembered these five points, his presentation would have had a more positive, long-lasting and memorable outcome;
#1 – What is it that you want to say?
- Plan it before you say it
- Map it out… create a small outline
- Keep it simple and as brief as possible
- Stay on topic
- Figure out the best way to communicate what it is you want to say in the best way possible
#2 – Speak the language of your audience
- Know who it is that you are communicating to
- Say it in a way that they’ll understand it
#3 – How into it are you?
- Show you care about your message
- Is your passion in it?
- Stand behind it
- Have fun with your message
- Whatever you are feeling, they will too – that’s the power of communication!
#4 – Get Connected
- Look the part/act the part
- Practice makes perfect – be prepared
- Look ‘em in the eye
#5 – Get It? Got It?….Good!
- Make sure your message has been totally understood
- Can they hear you?
- Speak clearly
- What’s the point of communicating something if you haven’t been heard or understood?
All at once Brad realized how far off course he had gotten in the presentation he recently made. No wonder he had failed at communicating his message. He also could easily see that these all-important points can work in any situation where communication is key.
Oh, and just in case you are wondering, Brad offered to give his audience another presentation after admitting that there were things about his previous one that just didn’t hit the mark. He hit it and then some with his second try, all because he went back and made sure all of the five points Mr. Hazeltine outlined in the past where a part of Brad’s present… and future.
Motivational Speaker Robert Landau spent a decade of his life as a Cruise Director sailing the world and meeting people from all cultures and all walks of life. In his keynotes, interactive programs and writings Robert encourages college students, professionals and everyday people to live using his three elements of a successful cruise by; 1) having fun, 2) planning your destinations and 3) making sure you're safe in case the waters get rough. Robert is available to keynote campus events or deliver workshops for your students and staff.