There Is Always Time for Anything Important
There is always time for anything that is important. If presenting well is important to you there is time for it. If building your presentation skills is important to you will find time.
I hear from executives all the time, “TJ I would love to practice but there is no time or we would love to schedule a day of training but you know there is no time.” All you are really saying is that presentation skills are not important to you. That is all you are saying. I remember the first time I went to India, around 2003 and 2004. I am on the campus of emphasis in Bangalore. I am conducting a full-day training with a bunch of executives. It is sort of a typical training. We start at 8:30 in the morning. We worked through lunch. We finish at 5:00. That typically when I work with executives after a long day. They are on camera. They are speaking up and down. Their adrenalines flows. They are tired at the end of a long day. That is all exhausted. I am just going to go home or they want to go out and have a drink with me relax or have dinner.
We finished the day of training. It is at five o’clock and I noticed all the executives are still sitting in their seats. But they have all done one. Thing they pulled out their laptop. I went up to one, “Sanjay what are you doing? We are finished now. You can go home now. He is like “oh no TJ I am now going to do six hours of work right here. Catching up on email. I missed by being in the training mode all day”
Okay that is dedication. That is a work ethic. Now this same gentleman was telling me about his experiences in the cell phone and a telephone service in India. He said earlier in the 90s he and his family put in an order for phone service in their house. It took 18 months to get the order in. Took another 18 months before the phone was actually installed. A three-year process. Just to get phone service. Now he worked at one of the largest communications and consulting firms in the world emphasis.
It really drove me for a point that if you are motivated there is time for it. If you are motivated, you will work for it. So do not kid yourself and say there is no time to be a better presenter, there is no time to learn presentations. Because there is no time to rehearse. Yeah there is time for anything that is important to you.
So why do I drive that story home? What message is there? The message is If you want to learn presentation skills you will even If you have to put your regular job off and work till midnight. It can have It the other thing, I used this story for Is If I am speaking to young people especially young people in America to drive home, the point of you are now competing with people all over the world, they are about a billion people who speak English around the world who do not live in the united states. They are learning good communication skills. A lot of times they are learning It for me many of you, in fact most of you watching this course are not in the united states.
I congratulate you! for those of you in the united states you often had an unfair advantage because the rest of the world wanted to do work with an American. They wanted to do work with someone who has strong communication skills and American style English skills. Well guess what that advantage Is evaporating as more and more people around the world are taking the time through this platform. And others to really learn how to communicate and present skill that present their Ideas effectively. They are burnishing their presentation skills. So that Is the real message and that Is why I tell the story.
The Show Must Go On
The show must go on. That is something I stress to all of my clients when they come to me for public speaking, presentation skills training.
Way back in 2013 I was conducting a day-long workshop in my training studio in midtown Manhattan. It was a group of energy executives in from another state. I was telling them what I am telling you now. Look you have got to have the show go on. No matter what I mean by that is if you are giving a PowerPoint presentation. All of a sudden the bulb burns out. The computer fails. Something locks up or even if the power goes out. You still have to deliver your presentation. You have to speak to people. You have to present your ideas. If it is 4 o’clock in the afternoon and all of a sudden the power goes out and everyone has to catch a plane at 5. They will be leaving the conference. You will never see them again. You do not want to have to say. “well I guess they cannot see anything but. You know” you want to present your ideas the best you can.
So that is what I told them at 9 a.m. In the morning. We do a practice session get everyone on camera. They practice their PowerPoint presentations at it 10 11 12. We do this again and again and again. Now we are ready for the final PowerPoint presentation of the day. All of a sudden it is about 4 o’clock. The power goes out now. It is august 13 2003. The power goes out for 24 hours in a net. Now we did not know that. Yet but at this point 4 o’clock the power goes out. The lights go out. This is a TV studio training facility. There are no windows. So it is pitch black I kind of feel around. I find a flashlight I turn the flashlight on. I help people up out of their chairs safely. We go to the refrigerator get a few drinks. We get out of the office. Fortunately, we are only on the second floor.
So we kind of feel our way down the steps out. Onto the street there is still plenty of sunlight. We all walk half a block to Bryant park in midtown Manhattan. It is a beautiful sunny day. We find six chairs. We form a little circle and guess what we did sit around. Just talk about oh New York city what chose to go to tonight. What restaurants to go to? You know each person stood up and gave his or her final PowerPoint presentation of the day. Now there was nothing projected up on a screen. There were no images but because they practiced all day. They were able to just stand up and present their ideas. Still make their ideas come alive. Still make their ideas understandable and memorable. That is what you have got to do. Every time now I hope the power note never goes out for you especially for 24 hours. But if it does I want you to be prepared. Because if you do speak under adverse situations like that. Your audience is even more likely to remember. They’re more likely to be impressed so. Do not blow the opportunity. Remember anytime you’re giving a PowerPoint presentation you’re never prepared for that PowerPoint. Unless you are ready to give it without the PowerPoint.
Okay so why do I give that story? I do want to stress to people that every opportunity they have to present maybe the only time to speak in front of that audience. Don not blow it just because technically is not something right. Just right a bulb burns out. Computers go on the fritz. Someone can be clumsy knock something over break it. Or the power can go out for the whole city. It is beyond your control. You still have the ability to speak. Unless someone knocks you out. I hope that does not happen or chandelier falls on your head. You can still speak without electricity, without power but without computers. So make the most of it. That is the point of that story. It does really drive home the message. You are not prepared unless you’re prepared to do it without the slides. Too many people how that is their notes. I am a big fan of notes as you know but the notes do not require electricity. You can have those in your pocket or right next to you at any time.