Knowing a Subject and Engaging an Audience – Two Very Different Things!
We are fortunate in franchising to have many franchise industry experts who have invaluable information to share. Typically, our office receives a couple of calls a week from SME’s (Subject Matter Experts) in one area of franchising or another who are interested in being added to the SPEAK! roster. A dilemma arises when it’s clear that the content a potential presenter has would truly serve our clients but the presenter also has one of two challenges (and sometimes they have them both).
The first challenge is the presenter’s assumption that just because they know the subject inside and out and they are deeply passionate about it, any audience will be equally enamored. Not so. Not all experts can effectively share their expertise. We’ve all been in that room, initially excited to learn something fresh and new only to be smothered in meaningless details, charts, and stats delivered by a frenetic presenter standing behind the podium, flipping notes and slides. How long were you able to stay truly engaged? What happened to the authentic, real connection to those of us sitting in the audience? For any presenter, whether franchise executive preparing to speak at an annual franchise conference or a franchise expert, investing in learning effective adult education, communication and presentation skills is invaluable.
The second challenge is simply too much ego. Most experts have achieved a level of recognition and respect in their area of expertise. Sometimes the ego gets in the way of a presenter’s ability to continue to learn and grow. For many people, the adrenalin rush that comes from presenting at the front of the room is addictive. Some of these folks are only focused on
how good that feels for them, not what they can do to ignite change, compel action and stimulate growth in their audience. And just because someone has been speaking for years, does not mean that they have learned the craft – it could mean that they have been overwhelming and disengaging audiences for years!
It’s simple, a presenter is either coming at it from a place of serving the audience they are speaking to, or they are coming at it from their ego. When they are coming from their ego, their presentation is fueled by the speaker’s need to demonstrate their own superiority and expertise. When a presenter is coming from an authentic place of service, their session is fueled by a passion for finding a way to deliver valuable, memorable bites of useful information that the non-expert can take with them and effectively implement in their lives and businesses.
Here’s a great article from Forbes by Kathy Caprino, National Women”s Career and Work-Life Expert, and Forbes Contributor & Speaker, which gives some fantastic insight into…
P.S. Effective speaking and presentation skills are finite and learnable. Our suggestion is to invest in learning the craft of delivering an effective presentation and then make it art with your own unique flavor. We have compiled a list of presentation skills and speaking coaches that we refer regularly. Let us know if we can help!