Your positive presentation attitude is one of the most neglected aspects of your business presentation.
For any presentation, really.
Maintain a positive presentation attitude, especially where criticism of current company policy is concerned.
Especially when your team must convey bad news, for instance, that the current strategy is “bad.” Or that the current executive team is not strong enough.
In class presentations, I sometimes see that students take an adversarial attitude. A harsh attitude.
This is the natural way of college students, who believe that this type of blunt honesty is sought-after and valued.
Positive Presentation Attitude for Personal Preservation
Honesty is important, sure. But there is a difference between honesty and candor, and we must be clear on the difference.
If you say that the current strategic direction of the company in your presentation is dumb, you tread on thin ice when you convey that information. Remember that there are many ways of being honest.
You must use the right words to convey the bad news to the people who are paying you. These may be the people responsible for the bad situation in the first place, or who are emotionally invested in a specific strategy.
Anyone can use a sledgehammer.
But most times it pays to use a scalpel.
But we must remember that as much as we would like to believe that our superiors and our clients are mature and want to hear the “truth” – warts and all – human nature is is contrary. We are easily wounded where our own projects and creations are concerned.
And if you wound someone’s ego, you will pay a price.
So, if you attack the current strategy as unsound, and the person or persons who crafted that strategy sit in the audience, you have most likely and needlessly doomed yourself. Expect an also-ran finish in the competition for whatever prize is at stake, whether a multi-million dollar deal. Or simply credibility and good judgment.
It takes skill and finesse to deliver a fine-tuned presentation. Learn to deliver a masterpiece of art that conveys the truth, but with a positive presentation attitude that is constructive and persuasive without being abrasive. When you do, then you will have developed incredible personal competitive advantage through the vehicle of your presentation skills.
That is, after all, why they are called skills.
Your presentation will effervesce . . . it will join the ranks of the especially powerful.
So remember that tact and a positive presentation attitude is as important to your presentation as accuracy. Internalize that lesson, and you’re on your way to delivering especially powerful presentations that persuade more than they insult.
For more on shaping a powerful and positive presentation attitude that stays on point and helps to build your personal competitive advantage, consult The Complete Guide to Business School Presenting.