Live in the moment. It’s a popular phrase, challenging people to enjoy the present in order to get the most out of it. In the world of Zen, the art of mindfulness is at the heart of the “everyday” things. It’s hard to be fully engaged in something if your mind is racing with thoughts of a million other things. In these last chapters, you’ll discover that a good presentation is like a great conversation—a moment in time when you’re fully present and engaged. When you can live in the moment, you’ll maximize your creativity and you’ll also have the greatest impact on your audience.
Have you ever observed a master musician so saturated in his or her performance it seems as though they’re in their own little world? Their passion draws us in as listeners and we’re soon captivated by the music and performance. So it is with a good presentation—when you believe in your message and speak with excitement and authenticity, it’s contagious. Make your presentation delivery natural by practicing it over and over again so you can enjoy yourself and become lost in the moment, sharing with others a story that holds value.
Think about good conversations you’ve had with others—more often than not, it’s in part due to the connection you felt with the other person. A good presentation should feel the same; as a presenter you should connect on an intellectual and emotional level and your delivery communicate honesty and sincerity. Remove any barriers between you and your audience; this means ditching the traditional lectern. Keep the lights on so people can see you and you can see them; remember—connection.
Leave Them Wanting More
We live in a culture that tells us, “the more the better.” Not the case for a good presentation; shorter is better. Numerous studies have found concentration takes a considerable hit after 15-20 minutes, so remember the Japanese practice of Hara Hachi Bu—eat until 80 percent full. Never go over your allotted presentation time, even consider finishing a few minutes early. You want to give your audience a high quality, energetic, passionate presentation that leaves them wanting just a little more.
Think On This
Where could you go that would take you out of your comfort zone and challenge you creatively, such as an entertainment venue or outdoor adventure destination? Consider a storybook or script that you could read aloud to practice your presentation skills—what would you choose to read and why? How do passion and enthusiasm strengthen a presentation? How can you build a better bridge to connect more effectively with your audience?