Stop Presenting, Teach

Earlier this week I was asked to present for 20 minutes about marketing programs to support specific sales efforts. I pulled data to support my hypotheses, prepared four visuals and practiced telling my 20 minute story. I felt on solid ground.

30 minutes before my presentation, the group moderator whispered – “we’re ahead of schedule, I’d love it if you could extend your presentation to an hour”. I immediately said “no problem”. I’m pretty sure the paled expression of disbelief on my face gave away my concern.

I knew that there was no way I could turn a 20 minute presentation into a 60 minute lecture. So I did what I know best. I jotted down an outline of what I would have prepared if I had known I had an hour session. Then I did something all teachers do – I wrote a list of questions. If I was going to make this presentation stick I needed audience engagement.

With a little preparation, and a lot of enthusiasm I switched from presenter mode, into teacher mode. And you know what? It worked.

The audience was engaged in the material I wanted them to learn. We brainstormed some great ideas together and the energy in the room went up measurably.

So the next time you want to Knock It Out of the Park , as I was told I did, put on your professor hat and turn up the volume, literally. Good presentations aren’t lectures, but teaching sessions that generate dialogue.