How to be different

“So how can I do things differently? What a great question! ……. I’m Michael Trigg, The Presentation Maestro, and I was asked this question last week and it is a fantastic question because most of us have become so homogeneous. We do what our friends do, we sort of try to fit into a certain mould particularly in the corporate sphere; we go on holiday to the same places our friends do; we go to the same restaurants our friends eat at; we watch the same films; we drive the same cars and what happened to renaissance man and woman? What happened to people who stand out a little bit?
Now some of us are afraid of doing that, and that’s understandable, but a very low-risk area where you really can stand out from others is when you get the chance to show a little bit of yourself and what you do i.e. when you present either in a corporate sphere or a small business sphere it doesn’t really matter.  And one of the ways to be different or do something different is actually not to do, or avoid doing, what all the others do namely oodles of powerpoint oodles of damned bullet points on slides, oodles of business speak that frankly no-one wants to listen to, makes you lose the will to live sometimes when you listen to these presentations, full of jargon that is largely bulls@*t that nobody understands.  And I know, I’ve tested this with umpteen of my clients over the years, and i’ve said “Do you know what that means?”… “I think so” and I asked them, and all the people around the room, believe it means something different.  And it’s extraordinary sometimes how, when we get to work, we leave our human head behind, we put on this sort of business hat and start talking a completely different language we wouldn’t use with our mothers, our family, our boyfriends/girlfriends/other-halfs, and our friends.  We wouldn’t do it. So why do you do it at work?
And just being more human and down to earth and using everyday language is definitely one way to be different. But let’s go a stage further than that. If you look at people like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King both passionate people but did they dance around very much? No! they didn’t. Their energy mostly came out through their hands, and their face and their voice and they used down to earth language for the people they were talking to.
From the political sphere, let’s look at two recent figures, Justin Trudeau the Premier of Canada and the recently elected President of France Emmanuel Macron.  Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t speak much French, but if you just watch that guy and listen to him you can see that he’s passionate sometimes, yes, but it’s natural and I could almost bet your bottom dollar he isn’t using jargon in French or any other language. Because politicians want your vote, and they’re not going to get your vote if they use language you don’t understand.  And think of the TED talks you watch on YouTube or TED. Now sometimes they move around a little bit but mostly they’re using language you can understand.  And I went to a fabulous talk the other day by someone call Jo Fairley who was the founder of Green&Black’s Chocolate.  Yes she used some slides, not too many though, but she hardly used notes at all. And she was talking from here [pointing to heart]  and she was warm; and she was down to earth; and she was understandable; and she was funny, and she was natural. And she blew us all away.
So to answer the question in summary – what can you do that’s different? – avoid doing what the others do.  In other words; stand still when you present; use language that everyone can understand; and avoid if you can using notes or powerpoint, speak from here [pointing to the heart]  and you’ll make a real difference, you’ll stand out from the others.  And they will want to come to the next talk you make.
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