Maybe your kitchen sink looked like mine when I was single--full of every plate, pan, utensil, and glass. When I caught a glimpse of it, I would feel frustrated and overwhelmed. To escape that distress, I would just avoid it. But it’s not just the kitchen sink that can get overloaded; presentations can also get packed with everything from the speaker's proverbial kitchen, and when they do, audiences get overwhelmed and tune out.
In 2008, architecture firms lined up for the opportunity to pitch their plans to build a new iconic baseball stadium in the heart of Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. It was a dream contract, and firms clambered to win it.
While many of the pitches focused on design elements and amenities like a retractable roof, new-age materials, luxury boxes, enhanced concession stands, club seating, and other revenue producing features, one architecture firm took a different approach. One firm took a winning approach.
It’s a Saturday morning and you are in the middle of a friendly game of golf. On the 8th hole you walk up to the ball, set your target, and select a club. You start your backswing, shift your weight forward, strike the ball, and follow through. You look up to see the ball flying hundreds of feet...off target and toward the adjacent fairway. Humiliated, you announce to your group that you are “hitting another ball.” You’re taking a mulligan.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could take a mulligan in every aspect of our lives? In many things we can--transferring schools, changing jobs, switching careers. These are all are do-overs.
In public speaking and presenting, there are no mulligans, no second chances, no do-overs.
If you win this work, it will be a game-changer!
It’s a huge account, and you’ve made it to the final round of selection. All you need to do is ace the presentation to land this life-changing client. Because of the job’s size and scope, the presentation requires contributions from a large and diverse number of people from different divisions of your project team. Everything is riding on your team’s presentation.
After a three-day, off-site business retreat, you’ve developed the perfect strategic plan. You return to work excited to share your ideas with the company. You make your slide deck and prepare your 30-minute presentation. After presenting, you come away feeling confident that everyone shares your enthusiasm, is onboard, and understands your priorities for the future.
A few days later, you overhear a water-cooler conversation that makes it clear few, if any, employees actually recall your main ideas and people seem baffled by your message. Something’s gone terribly wrong.
Everyone has heard the claim that individuals fear public speaking more than death, and while this declaration seems a bit far-fetched, surveys support the idea.
Scientifically, fear of public speaking is called glossophobia (glōssa meaning tongue) and it affects upward of 74% of Americans.
So whether public speaking is truly on par with death or not, the reality is that anxiety prevents millions of people from capitalizing on the power of public speaking…