“Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple” (Charles Mingus)
You don’t want me to do that, and I wouldn’t, if not out of necessity, believe me.
Once upon a time not long ago, you were requested to do something you wouldn’t do on purpose or even remotely willingly: “John, we need you at the next board meeting on Friday.” Your boss shouts at you, “Please prepare to present our status on the product-strategy, projects, risks and chances, suppliers, clients and so on, you know…”
Immediately, you feel that chill creeping down your spine. The one, unmistakably approaching at times, when something you fear for a reason is going to happen soon.
In front of your eye the following scene unfolds:
Board meetings are one of a kind. They’re lengthy, aiming at — what exactly? Everyone wants to be in the loop about what has happened recently, right? Many, I mean many PowerPoint slides are needed. Up to two hours presenting many numbers, complex correlations of business-processes, projects, suppliers and so on.
After a short while in any of that meetings, the audience, especially on Friday afternoons, tend to do the following:Advertising
- Being unable to follow up
- Getting bored
- Fall asleep
You wish more than anything at that point there would be a way out. Any easier approach, something doable at least would do just well.
Rest assured, there is a surprisingly helpful approach to the rescue.
- You will calm your fears of presenting many slides on a Friday
- Get back the control over your audience
- Stop the audience from getting bored in the first place
- Even better, make them remember your presentation and engage with you
As Antonio Zamora, entrepreneur and founder of Wimz.ch puts it:
“Take a pen, and the audience switches to the same level as you. Even accepting, you are being the teacher in the room now.”
In 3 steps, I’m now going to tell you, how you can approach the audience visually and tackle a complex scenario. Creating an image to tell a story will help a lot to attract and engage the audience.
1. Learn about your “story”
Message, Content and Visuals are the three essential parts of any successful presentation. Make sure you invest all your knowledge and of course, your creativity to form a substantial body of your play.Advertising
Do as much as you can, to become an expert about what you will present.
Studies from Eyeful Presentations show that most presenters have either 1 to 2 hours or a day and more time to prepare for a presentation.
One way or the other, the most crucial part will be the message. Invest slightly more to what is the central story you want to tell your audience. The other two go as equal parts to the content and visuals.
2. Visualize your play
In our example from the beginning, we have many topics to cover. Let’s do it:
- Risks and chances
Assuming, those being the main topics, you need to create an image with them as integral parts.
Wow, I hear you say, how on earth should I do that.
Well, the bad news is: there will be no golden rule for how doing it.
On the positive side, you can always challenge yourself. In this example, I show you, there is no rocket science part in it either.Advertising
Product-strategy can mean many things, mostly it’s something not razor sharp. Hopefully for most of you guys, it’s there, but could equally well exist in a cloud. So why not using that to visualize it?
Who better than you know, that projects always are like a long road. They will have milestones in it and a beginning and an end.
Well, scribble a path or road. Why not place any trees on its sides? How’s that, not too hard, right?
Risks are always something, business professionals fear. For that reason it can be something like an animal that occasionally crosses your path, and you won’t be happy to spot it. A wolf? Yes, why not.
Chances are what makes your day, they’re shiny and bright, like the sun sometimes.
A supplier provides products or parts for your company, and the cute Little Red Riding Hood would be just great to visualize just that.
The clients are nice people all your business is about. They mark the end, or as well the beginning of the road and may live in lovely little homes.
See what we did? We created pieces of scenery that even preschoolers could paint. My point is, in no case be too hard with yourself if you now paint that story.
Take a piece of paper and combine those little parts in one image. Even better, grab your whiteboard for a spin and just do it.
After a couple of times trying, you will feel it. The story and with it a remarkable start of your upcoming meeting will visualize in front of you.
Of course you guessed it: In the end this would make a beautiful scene of the well known fairy-tail The Red Riding Hood.
The following graphics show you even better that you don’t need to be an artist to visualize a great deal of information. Likewise, it’s doable even without being a creativity wizard to start using the drawing for business use-cases.
Why does it all work that way? The scientific reasoning has a lot to do with how we perceive ourselves and the environment. How do we process and digest that information, learn and communicate with each other?
Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP is that discipline of the cognitive and behavioral science, that deals with us being subjective humans.
According to the Business Directory, it even provides the pattern, how words and symbols are used to create mental pictures that our senses use to process the according experience later stored in the brain.
Last Updated on August 6, 2020
6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak
We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.
“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill
Are we speaking the same language?
My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.
When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.
Am I being lazy?
When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”
Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:
Early in the relationship:
“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”
When the relationship is established:
“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”
It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.
Have I actually got anything to say?
When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”
A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.
When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.
Am I painting an accurate picture?
One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?
How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.
Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.
What words am I using?
It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.
Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.
Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.
Is the map really the territory?
Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.
A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.
I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…