I’m amazed at how similar some presentations (and audiences) are to soccer games (and audiences).
Some people I know are truly soccer fans. They’ll stream Euro League games through their computer in the afternoons as they work. And there’s no way they’d miss a World Cup Qualifier on ESPN in the evening. The game may end in a 0-0 draw, but these fans will stay on the edge of their seat for a full 90 minutes (plus stoppage time).
Then there are the casual fans who might really appreciate the game if there was something to get excited about. Watching a game on tv, they may sit for a few minutes, but inevitably there will be better things to do around the house. The announcers on ESPN know what they’re talking about, but they don’t make much effort to draw casual fans into the game.
Of course, if you’re watching the game on Univision, it’s a completely different story. You don’t have to speak Spanish to get caught up in the announcers’ excitement. Certainly the Univision announcers are well known for shouting GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! after each score. But these announcers also get excited about every pass. They get excited about every player and make a big deal about every player’s nickname. Watching soccer on Univision is fun and engaging, even for the casual fan. And often even for the fan that may not even speak Spanish.
This pattern is similar to many presentations and their attendees. A presenter may drone on and on and click through slide after slide, but if it’s a specific topic that speaks to a specific portion of the audience, then there will inevitably be some participants who take feverish notes and hang on every last bullet-pointed slide in order to take something away.
Most presentation attendees are much more likely to be similar to casual soccer fans.
As a presenter, do you more closely resemble an ESPN soccer analyst – professional and assuming your audience has an inherent passion for your topic? Or do you more closely resemble a soccer announcer from Univision – professional and passionate, finding fun things to talk about and that everyone in the audience can connect with in addition to sharing your deep knowledge?
The Train Like A Champion blog is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. These brief “Training Tip” posts are a series of quick reference tips that are published while your beloved Train Like A Champion blogger is currently enjoying a little vacation. The more in-depth posts will resume again in August.