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 if you offer criticism.
Especially where it concerns criticism of current company policy.
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 student 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 valued.
Honesty is . . . well, it’s refreshing.
Presentation Attitude for Self-Preservation
Honesty is important, sure.
But a tremendous gulf separates honesty and candor. Let’s be clear on the difference between the two.
Honesty means you tell the truth. Candor means you spill your guts about everything that’s on your mind in the bluntest way possible.
If you say in your presentation that the current strategic direction of the company is dumb, you tread on thin ice.
Remember that you can express honesty in many ways.
Presentation prudence suggests that we learn a few of them. Use the right words to convey the bad news to the people who are paying you.
In the audience may be the people responsible for the bad situation in the first place. They could be emotionally invested in a specific strategy.
They might be financially invested in it.
Anyone can use a sledgehammer.
But if you use one, know that the receiving end of that sledgehammer isn’t pleasant and that you should expect reciprocation somewhere down the line.
Wound an Ego, You Pay a Price
Most times it pays to use a scalpel.
With lots of consideration and skill.
We’re easily wounded where our own projects are concerned, right?
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 doomed yourself.
Expect an also-ran finish in the competition for whatever prize at stake. Whether a multi-million dollar deal. Or simply credibility and good judgment.
It takes skill and finesse to fine-tune your work.
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 without being abrasive. When you do, you will have developed incredible personal competitive advantage through the vehicle of your presentation skills.
That is, after all, why they’re 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 an especially 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.