As a former college athlete there is one thing I became very aware of, the scoreboard. The scoreboard became both my best friend and worst enemy always letting me know if I was winning or losing. At the time I thought a scoreboard was only useful for sporting events, but as I’ve advanced in my career I’ve realized that scoreboards are vital for more than just athletics. Scoreboards in all realms of life are a way to let entire teams know if we are moving in the right direction. They give us insight into the wins and loses we experience and help us to accomplish more.
The same principle is true in presenting. In order to be effective, we must have a good understanding of the scoreboard and what constitutes a win and loss in our presentations. Here are two key measurables’ to look for that will help you to clarify the win and gain a better understanding of whether or not your presentation is winning or losing.
If you want to know if your presentation is hitting the mark just start by taking a look around the room. How many phones do you see? What kind of eye contact are people making with you? How are they sitting? These are all great questions to ask yourself as you are presenting. If you see half the room on their phone, people avoiding eye contact with you, and a lot of slouched postures you are probably missing the mark with your audience. On the flip side if phones have remained put away, your audience is locked in with their eyes, and their posture is that of someone leaning in to hear more you are most likely accomplishing what you set out to do with your presentation.
Reading the room is a skill that is developed over time. Don’t expect yourself to step in front of an audience for the first time and be an expert, however with a little practice every presenter can master the art of reading their audience and judging how engaged or in some cases disengaged they are.
A sure-fire way to know if you are winning or losing with your presentations is to watch way your audience responds after you are done. Are people running up to talk to you? Are you seeing a jump in sales? Or are you left standing alone at your table wondering what went wrong. The reality is that every presentation is designed to move people to something. It is our job as presenters to aid in the process. Our content can be phenomenal and our slides beautifully designed, but our delivery must motivate our audience to action.
The beauty of this measurable is that it can have a numeric value attached to it. Audience response has the ability to be an objective measurable rather than a subjective one. You know you are winning when you see people respond, you know you missed the mark when they don’t it’s black and white.
Knowing the score matters. It is important to know that sometimes you will lose, and that is ok. As long as you decide not to just accept defeat but rather to fail forward and keep getting better you will continue to develop and grow as a presenter.
If you want some help clarifying the win in your presentations reach out to us at PresentationMentor.com.