The Juggling Act: Unveiling the presentation pitfalls of Highly Educated Expats and Dutch Professionals.
Back in the days (2008), when I started to train “Presentation Skills” for highly educated professionals, in this case PhD. Students at the Maastricht University. I was sometimes taken aback by the poor quality. I expected these students to be rather good at presenting. Simply, because they were highly educated.
This was more ignorance on my part. Because the very fact that you are highly educated and knowledgeable, can make it hard for you to excel at presenting. As, I gradually learned by experience.
The poor quality of presenting of highly educated professionals often has to do with a one-sided focus, of which you cannot be blamed really. Nevertheless, it can make you fall in the same pitfall time and again.
Presenting on a high level has to do with, besides delivering good content, having a connection with your audience, and knowing how to bring your knowledge across.
The focus of highly educated professionals is often mainly on delivering good content. This makes sense, since you are used to being judged on precisely doing that. Think of writing articles or policy documents, good content will suffice in these cases.
However, for presenting other rules and laws apply. Then it is more about connecting with your audience and knowing how to bring your information across. And this is exactly what may lack in your case.
One pitfall that results from this one-sided focus is that you might get too deeply entangled into your content. And this starts right at the beginning: the preparation. You might tend to immediately dive into your content, without asking important questions first.
Like, what do I have this audience to offer? Why should they listen to this? What is my message in one, concise, concrete sentence? What do I want this audience to know, understand or do once they leave the room? What steps can I take with them and how can I lead them from A to B within this timeframe? (Being more strategical).
In short, you mainly think about your content and already forget in the first step to connect to your audience.
Besides not linking to your audience, the entanglement into the content, can make you get hung up into details and wanting to give too much information. Clever as you are, you see all the connections and how complicated things really are. If you talk about this, you also need to talk about this and this, you reason. Which eventually makes you lose overview and thereby losing grip.
When the time has come to present, you might attempt to put a big elephant (lots of information) into a tiny box (presentation). It is no fun to present like that, it takes a lot of effort and on top of it all, you are not effective. Because, the audience completely tunes out, unable to process all this information.
This way a presentation becomes a horror each time instead of a fun challenge. Besides, you have missed an opportunity to profile yourself as a knowledgeable professional.
In short, a presentation of a high level is juggling with different balls. Next to having good content, you need to connect with your audience (content-wise and literally) and learn how to bring your knowledge across.
If you succeed in learning that, you will start to experience the euphoric feeling of nailing a talk. The 1 + 1 = 3 effect. Then something special happens. You can feel and see it happening. People want to speak with you after the talk. You get good questions. You are asked to speak again. Doors will open for you.
Do you want to learn to excel on the podium? And do you recognize yourself in the following situations?
- You are a specialist and have a lot of knowledge in house. But your message does not come across.
- You have an important presentation in store, and you really want to do well.
- You want to make a new career step, where presenting plays an important part.
- You want to become more visible and attain large groups with your ideas and work.
- You want to forge new collaborations with presentations as a tool.
Apply for the Summer School, so you can make a leap and get practical tools to start excelling after the summer. Learn to handle the missing balls!
To more grip, impact and presenting pleasure!
Apply by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org