As in-house marketers, we’re often the go-to internal resource on coaching technical staff for presentations – be it for a client interview, speaking opportunity or internal meeting. And while most of us are natural-born communicators, presentations bring unique challenges. Before we can coach others, we must be great presenters ourselves. That’s why we’re excited to welcome Susan Murphy of Murphy Motivation and Training to the podcast this week to share her valuable insight surrounding her 20-years as a presentation coach.
Tentativity is not of value when giving a presentation.
CQ: In Garr Reynold’s first book, Presentation Zen, he states “If we desire to communicate with more clarity, integrity, beauty and intelligence then we must move beyond what is considered to be “normal” to something different and far more effective.” What do you consider to be those “normal” characteristics that we all hate so much?
SM: Normal is when people are so eager to communicate to get it over with that they just talk about business as usual from their own point of view. To be a really good communicator, you’ve got to keep the other person’s point of view in mind constantly.
CQ: What qualities define a good presenter?
SM: It is not personality dependent. So many people consider themselves introverts and assume they cannot be a good presenter. But the real quality is authenticity and eagerness to put out a message that reflects what the listener wants to hear, and doing so with energy. Look at the current election – Bernie and Donald are enthusing people. For precisely the reason that people feel these two guys are telling them what they believe. They’ve captured the hearts and minds of so many people against all odds, but it really makes all the sense in the world. It’s not fueled by hate, it’s fueled by the idea of “talk to me, you’re representing what I think.”
CQ: Have there been any techniques you’ve picked up from watching these political speeches and debates that can be used in coaching?
SM: Both of them could use some coaching! It’s fascinating that they manage to get their message across, next to Hillary who has been giving speeches her entire life. I am convinced she lost the last primary because she does not make eye contact when she speaks. She makes absolutely no physical connection with the audience. She has gotten much better as a speaker, but the lack of eye contact really holds her back and reinforces the impression that she is not very warm and fuzzy. People long for leadership, and leadership has includes likeability.
CQ: What are some of the challenges you see with new presenters?
SM: I think new presenters are actually easier to work with than experienced presenters. A new presenter is willing to learn something, where as a more experienced presenter feels their previous experience makes them an expert (which is not always the case).
CQ: What’s the difference between being aggressive and being assertive?
SM: Aggression gets at another person’s emotional, mental and physical space. Assertion just strongly lays out your reasoning. For example: Aggressive: “Do this immediately.” Assertive: “It would be great for our entire team if you could get this done as soon as possible.”
CQ: How do strong presentation skills help marketers gain credibility and move forward in their career?
SM: To have credibility, you’ve got to be a good presenter. Marketers are generally the ones who are coaching presenters in their organization, and you cannot do that if you’re not a good presenter yourself. Marketers need to study and practice. Once a marketer presents to the technical personnel from their viewpoint, and they understand that the marketer gets them, they tend to become the a marketer’s biggest supporter.
CQ: What are some small changes that people can make to impact the power of their presentation skills?
SM: Stand up straight, look ’em in the eye, and speak up!
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