In all my years of coaching presentations, the most common concern I hear from professionals is actually not about the presentation at all. It’s about the part when—either in the body of the presentation or immediately following—people in the audience or meeting get to ask questions. The presenter switches from prepared remarks into, well, UNprepared remarks. All of a sudden you’re in the land of extemporaneous speech. Improvisation.
Whether or not this is your biggest Achilles heel, almost everyone who has had to execute an important presentation or pitch, whether it be to three executives in a room or a crowd of hundreds, has faced this moment. And no matter how fluent you are in the material, the angle, the goal, no matter how seasoned a presenter you may be, that moment can be daunting. It’s unpredictable, definitely, and also it can be difficult to maintain the same effortless (read: well-rehearsed) tone. (more…)