9 Ways In Which Presentations Are Like Meetings (And Not In A Good Way)

I spent many years in corporate life sitting through both presentations and meetings. I’ve also run a lot of courses on how to deliver effective presentations and how to organise and run successful meetings. One thing I’ve learned is that presentations and meetings tend to have a lot in common – and not in a good way.

  1. They’re often organised without any clear purpose or outcome in mind.
  2. They usually consist of one person passing on information to other people who have little interest in it.
  3. They usually take place because someone in authority decides they should happen, not because the people involved want or need them.
  4. The people who have to attend spend most of their time wishing they were somewhere else.
  5. Often, even the person delivering the presentation or chairing the meeting also wishes he or she didn’t have to do it but they had no choice in the matter.
  6. They nearly always go on longer than expected because no-one really knows how to bring them to an end.
  7. People are often expected to deliver presentations or chair meetings as part of their job but get no specific training in how to do it properly.
  8. There is technology available to help but most people have no idea how to use it effectively.
  9. Organisations develop a “culture” (which is a fancy name for “habit”) of how to run meetings or presentations and people copy what they see everyone else doing, which perpetuates the bad practice.

A cynical view? Possibly. Accurate? In my experience, definitely!

It amazes me how many organisations still allow poorly organised or badly thought-out meetings and presentations to take place, soaking up hours of people’s valuable time and costing huge amounts in terms of staff costs. They would see a great return on investment if they questioned the way they do things and just gave people some basic training to help them improve the situation.

Present Your Message with Power and Pizzazz

If you’re ready to kick your career or business up to the next level, then make it a goal to become a powerful presenter. People view savvy communicators as being more capable, intelligent, and knowledgeable than those individuals who have difficulty in communicating their ideas. You can quickly gain the status of an expert in your field when you are able to present your ideas effectively.

Although many things go into giving a successful talk, I’d like to focus on one area that is very easy to apply – using body movements and gestures. When you use body movements and gestures appropriately, your presentation takes on a certain sense of aliveness that is often hard to accomplish when you use words alone.

Harness the Power of Gestures

Gestures include your posture, the movement of your eyes, hands, face, arms and head, as well as your entire body. They help to support or reinforce a particular thought or emotion. If our gestures support our statements, we are communicating with a second sense. People tend to understand and remember messages better when more than one sense is reached.

Winston Churchill was a master at using gestures to powerfully bring home his point. During World War II, Churchill rallied the citizens of Great Britain to continue their fight against overwhelming odds. He often visited the neighborhoods of London, which had been devastated by bombs and walked through them with his fingers held up in the sign of a “V”. This victory sign accompanied his famous message, “Never give in. Never, never, never give in.” This gesture so powerfully communicated Churchill’s message that soon people gained greater resolve to continue fighting whenever they saw the victory sign.

Another reason that using appropriate gestures is so critical to your presentation is that communication does not just consist of words. Less than 10% of the words we use in speaking gets through to others. On the other hand, over 55% of our body language is communicated to others very clearly. Whether you are trying to sell your product or service to a client or you are trying to persuade a group of people to change their behavior, it is critical that your words and gestures match. Many people have sabotaged their messages because their words were saying one thing, while their bodies were saying the exact opposite.

Can you think of a time when someone told you that he would be able to do something while his head was shaking no? Which did you believe, the words or the gesture? When your body movements are congruent with your words, your message will have a very powerful impact on your audience.

Make the Most Out of Movements

People will begin to make judgments about you as soon as you stand up. The time to begin using effective body movements is when you walk to your position in front of a group. Stand up tall and walk with a strong posture. Let your body communicate that you have something important to say and the audience needs to hear it. If your posture is slouched, they will feel that you aren’t convinced about your message and they will begin doubting you before you have uttered a single word.

When you get to the front, take a deep breath, calmly look at your entire audience and smile. One of the biggest mistakes presenters make is to begin talking as soon as they get up to the front, or even worse, as they are walking there. When you take time to look at your audience before you speak, you begin to establish that critical connection with them. You also give the audience sufficient time to focus on you and what you are about to say.

Look directly at the faces of your audience members, not over their heads. Eye contact is one of the most important aspects of speaking. An easy way to get over stage fright is to look at the faces of individual audience members and just talk to that one person instead of the entire audience. Rotate the people you talk to – someone on the left, someone towards the middle, a person on the right, someone in the front, etc. This will help you maintain rapport with the entire group, while allowing you to feel at ease.

A further advantage of maintaining good eye contact is that it will help you gauge how your message is coming across to the group. If you are trying to explain something and members of the audience give you blank stares, then you need to adjust your words so they can better understand you.

Use Conversational Gestures

Like Winston Churchill, you should strive to incorporate gestures into your talk. People naturally use gestures in conversations. They are not on the spot, so they easily move their arms and hands and make facial expressions to illustrate the points they are trying to make. However, an amazing thing happens when people stand up in front of a group to speak. They suddenly think, “Oh no! What am I going to do with these things attached to my shoulders?” and they either don’t move them at all or they move them awkwardly. Gestures should be a natural extension of who we are. Presenters should strive to be themselves. They should be as spontaneous with their movements as if they were talking to their family or friends.

Practice Makes Natural

A good way to be comfortable with gestures is to know your speech well. Several of the most outstanding speakers offer the same piece of advice: “The key to effectively using gestures is to know your material so well, to be so well prepared, that your gestures will flow naturally.” Practice your speech and know it well so that you can enjoy sharing your message with others.

Become a master at using your body to support your words. Have fun with gestures, be yourself, and you will certainly present your message with power and pizzazz.

Presents for Men that Will Impress

Buying a gift for a man means taking a moment to think about what he does in life for work and play. Men who work in or like carpentry may find a new hammer or drill useful. However, a 3D artist would have very little use for a hammer. It’s important to keep this in mind when buying a gift.

Guys who like electronics will certainly give off some kind of sign. They will usually be talking about the latest greatest thing, or be drooling over a new piece of hardware. If you don’t have time to listen then take a peek inside his den or workshop and see what’s there. If you open the door and there’s a tower of giant beeping plastic with lights on it then that probably means he likes electronics.

Another thing you need to consider is that there is a difference between electronics people and computer people. Computer people are often called packrats for all the parts they keep strewn about their homes. We can’t help it we never know when we will need them. Other men also like camcorders and other audio video electronics, and then you have gamers.

Most notably the hardest to buy for these men love their games. When buying for a gamer you have to figure out which time period of games he likes. Whether he is an older gamer or he is a modern gamer. Then you have to figure out which system and game types he likes. After all this you then need to get him something he doesn’t already have.

Keep in mind not all of us are the same. Every expert seems to think we all like starring at naked ladies and drinking beer all the time but that’s a big misconception. We are often just a sensitive about issues and as complicated inside as anyone else. Finding cool presents for men isn’t hard if you just take the time to get to know us.