One of my end-of year-traditions is to use any downtime to catch up on reading. I wanted to share some thoughts on the latest book I read, The Art of the Pitch. This quick and motivating read from the legendary ad guy Peter Coughter, who now teaches at the VCU Brandcenter, includes excellent stories that remind us how just how critical it is to master persuasion and presentation skills.
Today, I offer a short post on the number one quality of a great presenter. Tomorrow, I’ll post on the number one quality of a great presentation.
What’s the number one quality of a great presenter? According to Coughter (and I agree), it’s that you approach a pitch as a conversationalist, not a speaker. This advice is excellent, and it’s highly applicable to anyone advocating for a good cause.
“It’s a conversation, only you’re the one doing most of the talking. A lot of people have a hard time with this idea,” says Coughter. “We’ve all been there. Sitting in a meeting, praying for it to end while the speaker drones on about something that is apparently important to him, but of no interest to us… Don’t be that guy. Just talk with us.”
To talk with us, you have to know us, recognize us and converse about our interests. A great presenter is so focused on reflecting and connecting with us that we feel a part of the moment.
Do that and everyone will be riveted.
P.S. I’m also reading Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth. If you want fiction, not business reading, that’s my pick.