Your presentation is for your audience, and that’s where your business hero had better be.
As much as some of us love the limelight and the adulation of the crowd, it’s wise to remember that your presentation isn’t about you, although our self-indulgence can sometimes make it seem so.
No, you’re not in this to please yourself.
And you must get them to do what you want them to by making them think that it’s what they want.
Connect With Your Business Hero
Address the needs of the people in your audience and fulfill their expectations in language they understand, with metaphors and examples that resonate with them. Your objective must be expressed in terms of how it best connects with your audience. The folks in your audience should be the business hero, not you.
Speak to their needs and fulfill them.
The good news is that your audience’s meager expectations mean that you can likely dazzle it with a merely above-average presentation. This is because the level of business presenting is so dismally low that audiences dread listening to them as much as you hate giving them.
But remember this – regardless of the topic of your talk, every audience wants the same basic thing. Deep down, all of us wants a chance. Everyone wants to have a chance to be a hero.
No one wants to hear from Indiana Jones . . . everyone wants to be Indiana Jones. Or at least believe that we could do great things.
This is a touchstone principle long known to professional speakers. Kenneth Goode and Zenn Kaufman authored a book in 1939 called Profitable Showmanship, and their words resonate with stone-cold veracity over the subsequent 72 years, right up to today and the next quarter earnings briefing:
The audience is always on the screen, at the microphone, in the prize-fight, or in the pitcher’s box. You, the individual member of the audience, are the hero of the day. No selling can ever be completely successful that forgets this principle: that the prospect is the Hero of the Show. And, in fact, the only hero! . . . The minute you slide the spotlight off him, off his crazy ideas, off his pet peeves, particularly off his whims, your show is over. You may as well go home, for your audience is gone. . . . The hero of the [presenting] drama is the customer – or prospect. His vanities, his hopes, his fears, his ambitions – these are the stuff from which your plot is spun and on him – and him alone – must the spotlight shine.
Remember that the Business Hero is in your audience.
People want more than anything to be a hero, and if you give them that chance in your talk, you will be rewarded 1,000 times over.
For more on putting the business hero in your business presentations, consult The Complete Guide to Business School Presenting.