“In the Wings”
If the purpose of a presentation is to create change, then it must cause an audience to think, feel or behave differently as a result of experiencing it, and for this to happen a presenter must share information in such a way as to be persuasive. Ed Murrow, the American broadcast journalist and war correspondent, once observed that “To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful.”
The problem with the truth is that there’s yours and there’s mine, both are distinct and neither necessarily facts. It has taken me over twenty years of professional communication facilitation and training to arrive at the conclusion that, whilst truth may matter, no amount of it can compensate for a lack of care.
Like truth, care is equally personal and potentially ambiguous, but being a choice to either care or not, it is perhaps a more accessible place to start when considering how we might interact with others in order to better communicate. Obviously it is equally important when it comes to delivering a presentation, but by beginning with the end in mind we stand the best chance of planning to get our message across effectively. In the Wings is inspired in part by Maya Angelou’s stated belief that “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”, and I am of the opinion that this begins with a conscious choice and commitment to care.
Beginning with a conversation about the variety of ways in which people can transmit information and acknowledging how diverse, dynamic and distinct an audience can be, the course explores how personal preference and internal language combine. This emphasises the importance of flexibility as one of the most valuable assets of a presenter or presentation, and from there the course weaves a path through experiences, ideas, examples and exercises drawn from the worlds of storytelling, business, communication and the participants themselves.
The result is a light-hearted and personal experience which allows participants the opportunity to reflect on options in order to create and test a framework that is suited to their personal style and presentation objectives. This forms a set of practical tools with which to craft a careful message designed to affect an audience.
In the Wings is available as a standalone course that runs for approximately three hours with a fifteen minute break halfway through, or as part of a longer course incorporating one or more of its companion courses for presentation delivery (Potential Energy), confidence (An Impostor Calls) or vocal control (Specific Heat Capacity). It asks participants to come with, at the very least, an idea for a presentation which they either will or could plan to deliver in the not-too-distant future.