Presentation journeys of self discovery are not always a good thing.

What do journeys of self discovery mean to you? It may be that you are a keen supporter of personal development and take every opportunity to broaden your knowledge and develop your skills. If that's the case you may be keen to explore my online presentation course - Great Presentation Made Easy.

Is your presentation audience captivated?

In the presentation arena, journeys of self discovery are not such a good thing. In this context the journey is one made by your audience members and reflects what they are thinking about. As a presenter, you want your audience thinking about your key message and what it means for them. If you are not captivating your audience, their attention wanders. They start thinking about other things. Did they remember to feed the cat before they left home, or running through their to do list for after your presentation. Now it is extremely difficult to hold everyone's interest the whole time. The challenge for us as presenters is how often we send audience members off on their own thinking journey unintentionally. It may be a simple phrase or throw away comment, it may be a mass of data on a screen that people are now analysing themselves or mentally checking your calculations. It is important to be aware of potential triggers that will send individuals off into their own world. Sometimes, the triggers are much less subtle.

Multiple journeys of self discovery never help

Earlier this week (Sept 14) Apple ran a huge global live event to launch new products such as the iPhone 6 and iWatch. Both my wife and I were very interested in the event, but for quite different reasons. She is an Apple convert and is keen to know about the latest offering. I on the other hand am more ambivalent about the products, but as an active private investor own shares in a company that might have a business boosting part to play in the new products. Because of this we both attempted to log in to the live event stream. This is where the problems began. There were major technical issues that meant the stream was not easily accessible. My solution was to use Twitter to follow the latest developments from people who were actually at the event or had got access to the stream. It turned out there were a lot of tweets, as you would expect. However, the majority were not focusing on the key messages Apple wanted us to hear and act on. Instead, most of the tweets were about the disastrous live feed and also the fact that, allegedly, there was some form of simultaneous multi language translation that could be heard over the top of your own language making it hard to concentrate. The audience frustration was more than evident.

Presentation skills matter

This is a great, albeit extreme, example of how journeys of self discovery work. Many people in the audience were focusing on things that were certainly not part of the core message. In the case of Apple, they have many opportunities to get their message out there, plus a loyal following of devoted users who will help. Most of us don't have that luxury when we are presenting our ideas. Keeping everyone of the same journey is a core presentation skill that is well worth developing as part of your own journey.