Presentation skills case study

Attractive young man giving a sales pitch to a group of clients in a meeting room

I’m an experienced presenter – why bother with coaching?

A senior finance industry figure approached us for help with an annual address to his global client base. He’s been working in his sector for more than 30 years and has been presenting at a high level for 20 years.

So why bother with the extra sessions and hard work? “Because I know I can do better,” he told me. And it was undoubtedly true.

Many presenters have performed well in front of clients and colleagues for 10, 15 or 20 years. Their performances are decent and there’s no reason to complain. But in so many cases these executives are delivering a six or maybe a seven out of 10 level of performance.

So what does it take to get to an eight or a nine and why does that matter?

It matters because at a time of more mixed economic and financial performances, our audiences are harder to impress. In the good times the numbers did a lot of the talking – while the content of high profits and returns continued, the ability to inspire and persuade mattered less.

In the case of this client and, similar to others we work with, he discovered an ability to raise his performance several notches with achievements in three key areas:

  • Mixing speaking styles – The classic speaking styles are Lecturer, Preacher and Story Teller. Rather than stick to one style he learned to use different styles in the same presentation.
  • Elevating vocal performance – familiarity with key elements of the speech enabled him to use his voice more strategically to ensure his important messages made an impact.
  • Reducing reference to notes – The whole point of making a speech rather than just sending the deck of slides by e-mail is to connect with the audience. Being able to deliver key sections and tell stories with little reference to paper work can transform your ability to connect and engage.

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