Not the what but the whom!

Not the what – but the Who and How!
By Roger La Salle

It’s often said that investors invest in people, not products or ideas; and how true this is.

So just how important is your presence and presentation in winning with your innovation, or indeed rising to the top in your profession?

How important is this really?
Anecdotally the CEO of one of Australia’s very large listed businesses gave a speech or presentation to both shareholders and potential investors some time last year.

It seems the message was first class, the business was on track and the future ahead looked rosy indeed. In short this was a “bullish” message aimed at stimulating investment and encouraging shareholders. The effect however was quite the reverse, despite the positive words.

The reason?

The CEO’s presentation was less than lack lustre, it lacked power and passion and some even suggested exuded nervousness. Though this may be hard to believe from a well-seasoned CEO, the effect of the presentation was to wipe millions of dollars off the company value in the hours following. Simply, shareholders were “spooked”.

A study that shocked the room
Some years ago during the study of a business degree we undertook some research as an elective subject into public speaking, presentation skills and the secret of good presence.

During this work experiments were conducted with both shy and retiring types and even the most forthright and confident person in the class. This fellow was “full of it” but within minutes was literally reduced to a trembling wreck as his presentation ensued. All of this was video recorded and some valuable insights and lessons were learned.

The Silver Bullets
Resulting from this work we developed what we refer to as the “Silver Bullets” or lifeboats for presenters.

No matter whom the speaker, even the most accomplished, confident and well researched, at some stage you will encounter seemingly uncontrollable nerves, shortness of breath, trembling and even forgetfulness that is noticeable to any audience, especially those seated closest

Given that this is inevitably the case, and be assured if you are required to present from time to time this will happen, what are the lifeboats or the silver bullets?

In exploring this question, perhaps one may ask, what makes a chat around the BBQ on a Sunday different from a formal speech to the same group at a function?

The difference is stark, the reality is simply, but such a formal session can be delivered as confidently as a joke around the BBQ, once you realise the simple differences.

Is training the answer?
There can be no doubt that training assists in all endeavours, proper training and learning undoubtedly increases skills. But notwithstanding, there are times when the lifeboats or ways to escape the positive and destructive feedback of rising nerves are essential. Indeed even having an awareness of the lifeboat options alone may be sufficient to ensure you never get to the point of absolute failure.

Learn the Art!
For anybody wanting to succeed in business and in life, learning the art of fine presentations will stand you in good stead, build your self-confidence and position you as a leader amongst people.

****** END ******

Roger La Salle, is the creator of the “Matrix Thinking”™ technique and is widely sought after as an international speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development. He is the author of four books, Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australian and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast. Matrix Thinking is now used in more than 26 countries and licensed to Deloitte, one of the world’s largest consulting firms.

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