Suddenly, your presentation time gets cut from 60 minutes to 10.
“Sorry about that—the group’s running behind schedule,” you’re told.
What Do You Do?Moments like this can catch anyone by surprise.
Imagine another scenario. You walk into an executive’s office with your deck of 15 slides, carefully crafted to show the rationale for your complex recommendation.
After exchanging pleasantries, the executive says:
“Do me a favor. Skip ahead to your last slide—the one with your recommendation on it. Let’s just talk about why I should say yes to this.”
In high stakes settings, especially when senior executives are involved, sudden changes like these happen all the time. When they do, you’re left with no choice but to collect your thoughts, open your mouth, and start talking.
Will You Be Ready? The trick is to be ready for these moments before they happen.
Ask yourself, “Is my presentation bulletproof?”
Has it been carefully thought through, planned, and practiced with the unpredictability of the real world in mind?
If no or you’re unsure, eliminate any doubt by applying the Pressure Test.
Pressure Test Your Presentations At Mandel, we believe that clear communication is a sign of clear thinking.
That’s why our focus is on helping professionals Think and Speak for Results™ in almost any business situation they find themselves—whether crafting an email or presenting to an audience of thousands.
Both, the integrity of your thinking and your ability to express those thoughts, are vital to your success—particularly when the stakes are high and the pressure is on.
To be sure you’re ready, put your thinking and your speaking to the test.
How to Pressure Test Your ThinkingAsk yourself (or better yet, ask an objective and trusted observer):
- Is my thinking conceptually wide enough and deep enough? Is it relevant to this situation? Is it logically sound?
- Is my content linked at all points in my presentation to my listeners’ interests, needs, and wants (i.e., “care-abouts”)—and not to my own?
- Is my content flow designed to capitalize on how human beings best comprehend and process information—especially as attention spans shrink?
After making the improvements needed to answer a solid “YES!” to these three THINKING questions, next focus on your SPEAKING skills.
How to Pressure Test Your Speaking Net out your presentation verbally in less than three minutes, without any notes or slides.
Then, answer the following:
- Am I concise and clear?
- Do I sound conversational and not rehearsed?
- Do I appear composed?
- Do I seem credible?
- Did I appeal strongly enough to my listeners’ interests, needs, and wants that they’ll find it immediately useful and want to hear more on the spot?
The ResultIf your presentation—both your THINKING and SPEAKING—passes the Pressure Test, you’ll have put yourself in a position to tackle any surprise or sudden shift that comes your way.
Knowing you possess the flexibility to adapt your communication to any situation puts you in a position of power.
Now, you can walk into your meeting or your event with the full confidence that whatever gets thrown at you, you can handle it.
And if no surprises pop up, you’ll be even more effective presenting it as originally intended, slides and all!
Get a “Yes” to every single one of the 3 THINKING questions. Get your SCIPAB® pocket prompt. SCIPAB is Mandel's 6-step easy-to-use communication method for creating powerful messages and presentations.
Or, are you ready to take your communication skills to the next level? Enroll in Mandel's flagship training workshop Think & Speak for Results™ to master the skills vital to your success.
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Learn 11 tactics your technical team can use right now to make them more effective and influential communicators for any business decision maker.
Admittedly, I've struggled to find a reliable way to help people reduce their public speaking anxiety, despite years of trying. I’ve advised people to do just about anything I could think of that might help, e.g., breathing, meditation. While I haven't found the thing that works every time for every person, there is one technique that seems to be more effective than most. Even if you've already found something that works well for you, this technique is worth trying out.
Imagine being asked to present to your entire company tomorrow. Does the idea of it make you nervous? You might be tempted to get right to work, writing every word down and committing them to memory. Now, what if I said you couldn’t memorize your talk? Whoa, wait a minute. You wonder, “How am I supposed to remember what to say?”
Find out why memorizing is a terrible idea and what you should do instead to prepare for your next presentation.
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