Practically Speaking

authenticity presentation substance take-away Feb 15, 2023

I’m all for a good parable, a vivid illustration, a powerful story, to help amplify a lesson, drive a point home, and bring a message to life. But when that parable goes off on its own or loses its way, so too might the substance of that message. Practically speaking, our goal as presenters should be to share the stage, and pair the parable with the practical so we can all end our presentations with a real connection…to the needs of our audience.

In Game On terms, we call this the take-away, and we try to be intentional to make our take-aways simple, accessible, and relevant. During our presentations, it’s part of our delivery framework to end each exercise, tie-back each concept, wrap up each session, by sharing proven behaviors and offering tangible techniques to help make it all make sense. This journey is made easier if we have some buy in, trust, and support from the audience. We get there by trying not to act authentic, but by doing our best to simply be authentic. We get there by honoring the process, engaging with purpose, and taking some time to earn the audience’s trust. We get there by having fun and laughing with, without allowing the entertainment and interactivity to get in the way of the heart of the message.

This delicate walk, this move from story to substance, this path to practicality, is not always an easy journey. What can help us all along the way is having a basic understanding of our audience’s language, culture, needs, responsibilities, score card, and expectations. We can arrive there safe and sound when we put our ego aside, get out of our own way, forego some laughs and applause, and put our audiences’ long-term growth ahead of our immediate survey results. When we get to this point, a deeper impact is being made because our audiences are taking practical behaviors back to their team, staff, organization, community. With that, the messages connect beyond the actual presentation, and the concepts are then brought to life on the daily.

There’s no powerful parable here, although I’m all for them, especially when paired with some precise practicality. As presenters, leaders, coaches, teachers, in our pursuit to make the message make sense, let’s enjoy the stories and also share the stage with substance by leaving room and space for some practicality. Let’s make sure we bring joy and laughter into the room and then wrap it all up nicely, land that plane safely, bring it home concisely, so the presentation resonates, in simple, understandable terms, and connects directly back to the needs of our audience.

If we can do this and get there together, the presenter and the audience will have made - practically speaking - a meaningful, memorable, and powerful connection.

Parable On. Practicality On. Game On.

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