Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Don't fail your audience

I was recently at Wharton India Economic Forum to speak at the Retail and Consumer Panel. Just before that I spoke to the Huntsmen Program Students at UPenn Wharton. The Presentation went very well and I even picked up 4 Interns from there. The Director of the Program wrote:

“Thank you ever so much for an inspiring and most informative lecture and discussion in the Huntsman Program. Our students were impressed with your insights and knowledge and your professional path. It was a real privilege to have you speak in the Huntsman Program.”
I had taken special care to prepare and practice the Presentation before I made it on D’Day.

Ten days later I spoke at the first day of the Asia Retail Congress on “How Small can be Big” at Mumbai. The Presentation did not connect and I knew instantly that I did not make an impression or had probably made a poor impression. No wonder I got this feedback:

“You were very tight on time and for tomorrow I think you will need to shorten it. Also you had great content but I feel too many charts and words on them. The audience could read the words quicker than you could present them moving to bullet point on the key items will help a lot.”

I had not taken enough care and did not time my Presentation. I was open enough to admit and realised later that I had been over confident. I made amends and on the next leg at Delhi with the same but edited and well rehearsed presentation. It connected with the audience. Someone came up and said “This is the best and most productive presentation of the day”. I also made it a point to even go through the list of attendees to give relevant examples.

So many of us never go through the basics. Failure and over confidence taught me a lesson – I will never repeat it ever again. After all there are so many people who leave so much work to come and listen to us and we must be careful. Their time is as valuable as ours.

13 comments:

Nithin said...

Hi,

The last sentence should read

"Their time is as valuable as ours"

We readers too have a lot of expectations from you.

Sudeep said...

Rajeev Sir,

The failure to recognize and acknowledge a mistake is the biggest failure of all. Glad to hear that you're so humble and prudent even with such experience.

I have a list full of mistakes. I try my best not to make the same mistake twice.

Sudeep

21speed said...

your heart and mind are in the right places. but your blog is slightly boring - your opinions are, well, just opinions. there are similar opinions all over the net, everywhere. look forward to sharper analyses, insights. thanks and good luck mate.

World Inside said...

A SINGLE sentence from you can save the planet.

http://worldinsider.blogspot.com/

Satchidaananda said...

Where are you Rajeev? Missing your blogs badly...
Cheers,
Satchidanand

roshini said...

Nice Post !
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Deepak Miglani said...

Confidence is a nice thing. It allows us to clear our doubts and to take action without any tension. Over confidence is last stage of devlopment. Let's think why we get overconfident????

Deepak Miglani
www.deepakmiglani.com

Deepak Sahijwala said...

Well said on the "over confidence" bit. Its the sure path to failure...

AJ ! Serendipity !!! said...

Hey hi,

You must be giving lots of presentations. IS going the predetermined presentation map always the most effective way of giving a speech ?

Don't intend to preach, but Ever tried wondering what you mean to those people listening to you ? An icon? An authority figure? or perhaps a curiosity?
Wouldnt you rather enjoy being yourself? I guess passion brings out the best in us, dosent it?
Then maybe you wouldnt want to time yourself . . . and maybe people wont realise youve spoken a few munites over time :)

Best

Ajay

AJ ! Serendipity !!! said...

Hey hi,

You must be giving lots of presentations. IS going the predetermined presentation map always the most effective way of giving a speech ?

Don't intend to preach, but Ever tried wondering what you mean to those people listening to you ? An icon? An authority figure? or perhaps a curiosity?
Wouldnt you rather enjoy being yourself? I guess passion brings out the best in us, dosent it?
Then maybe you wouldnt want to time yourself . . . and maybe people wont realise youve spoken a few munites over time :)

Best

Ajay

Rajesh Kumar said...

Such a meaningful post.

Pratik Poddar said...

Sir,

I read your blog regularly..
Great post... Thanx..

Tushar Suryawanshi said...

Rajeev Sir,
Do you have a copy of your lecture/presentation you did at Upenn Wharton. I would certainly like to read it, if it is ok with you.


Thanks.
Tushar Suryawanshi