In all of our workshops, a certain amount of unlearning has always taken place.
Over time, we realized that everything we were helping presenters unlearn came from the world of speechmaking. Although presenters knew they were not delivering formal speeches, the assumptions they made and the strategies they used didn’t reflect that. They were simply working with the wrong tools, like using the handle of a screwdriver to pound a nail into the wall. If you worked at it long enough, you might be able to do it, but why bother when there’s a hammer in the toolbox?
At some point, probably during a debrief after a workshop, one of us said, “Do you think we should just stop calling these things presentations altogether? Everyone gets hung up on that word. Wouldn’t it be easier to just call them conversations? That’s really what they are.”
So that’s what we did. We redefined business presentations as Orderly Conversations.
We brought the idea that business presentations were a type of conversation, not a type of speech, into our workshops. Soon, we realized we were heading toward a major overhaul. From preparation and delivery, through managing interaction, to how you judge your success when the presentation is over—all of these things are affected when you begin with the assumption that what you’re dealing with is a conversation.
To succeed, business presenters need to make these adjustments.
|Instead of…||You should:|
|rehearsing for perfection||prepare to be flexible|
|following the rules of delivery||engage in a genuine conversation|
|following a one-size-fits-all approach||adapt to your Default Approach|
|keeping visuals in the background||bring them into the conversation|
|controlling group interactions||create the conditions for a fruitful discussion|
The Orderly Conversation explores how each of these adjustments is made.