The #1 presenting mistake leaders make

empty stage

He was the CEO. But sitting on the corner of the stage, he looked like a little boy who lost his puppy.

The audience had gone. The ballroom was empty. “I don’t get it,” he said. “I memorized that speech! The PowerPoint was full of good data! So why didn’t they buy it?”

He may have communicated. But he didn’t communicate well. I’ve seen this before. He made the mistake of believing that presenting is about reporting information.  He failed to realize that, if you expect the audience to buy what you have, you must give them something they need.

Don’t be too hard on him. We’ve all been trained to think that group communication is a one-way thing. You report information. And then you’re done. But in our focus on ourselves, we have forgotten about the audience. They agreed to give you their most prized possession:  their time. When we ask people to pay attention, we demand the single most precious commodity a human being has. Quite simply, you must give the audience something of value in return.

In the future,  before that CEO launches into his sales pitch, he should look out over that audience and do the math. What is he offering that is worth the price of their attention?

PlanMike Vayda