Is it okay to be vulnerable when you give a presentation? To tell of the mistakes you have made or let others know when you have failed to make your mark … or perhaps share an inability to persuade?
Absolutely, and it is a terrific way to begin a presentation. This technique will have your audience listening and paying attention right from the second your first words are amplified from the mic. Consider how many speakers are willing to bare their souls. Tell of the missteps they made to get to where they stand today. Not many in the corporate world.
But at the end of the day we all stumble sometimes and it is the element that connects us—when we can identify with others, knowing they are giving us the honest account of how life rolls out.
For my client, Coro Strandberg, (check out her video posted below) it was the piece that brought warmth to her presentation. She let her young audience at the Net Impact Conference for UBC business students know that when she began her career she had an opportunity to present an idea that had never been executed. It was met with deaf ears. She was promptly shut out and shut down by her colleagues.
The magic in beginning a presentation this way is it give you the speaker, the opportunity to transition on to telling a story … become the conquering hero of sorts. And also bring your audience into the story. Share with them how they can be heros too. As Coro said it won’t be without pitfalls and push backs.
Coro used a few other techniques too.
Did you notice the self-effacing humour? I’m sure that to this 2013 class of business students shoulder pads and big glasses must be fodder for fits of snorts and giggles.
Another presentation strategy that Coro used was problem – solution. She told the audience who would be soon graduating and entering the world with tons of energy, not only what the problem is, but how to solve it. Coro shared that it took many years of work and research for the generations behind them. The generation of today has access to information like no other and many of the mistakes have been made for them. They have the answers at their fingertips.
And what do you think of Coro’s close? She challenged them to grab the baton. A fine call to action and a brilliant way to end a presentation.
We’re conditioned that business presentations need to be all buttoned up. Actually, it’s bad advice. If you want to engage and connect with your audience…to persuade them…as Brene Brown during her thought provoking TED talk tells us…you need to be comfortable with being a little vulnerable.
To Your Voice,
Check out Coro’s trailer of her presentation here: