I usually spent a few hours preparing, sometimes when I was very busy, I had my assistant prepare my PPT slides. I thought it was enough -- my content was good, and in that narrow area I was a legitimate subject-matter expert.
I thought that was enough. I stood up and told our story.
Boy, was I wrong.
It wasn’t that those speeches weren’t fine, I’m sure they were. But in retrospect, they couldn’t have been too more than that. They were good, maybe even very good.
But no one cares about "very good." No one wants to waste their valuable time out of the office and money to watch a speech they’ll later rate as a 3.5 out of 5.0.
They deserved great.
Looking back, I’m embarrassed. No one ever complained, and I actually got quite good reviews. But I’m trying to make up for it now with fast-paced presentations and lots of visuals.
Today, 250 presentations later, I have a better handle on how to give the audience what they want (entertainment), while also giving them what they need (education).
I'll never forget what my old friend Paul Lisnek once told me - "If they want good content, they can go read an article. What they're paying you for is A SHOW."
That was probably the best presentation advice I ever got.