Electric Impulse Communications, Inc. Newsletter
Welcome to May’s Electric Impulse Newsletter!
At Electric Impulse we help you get out of the way of your message! Through individual coaching, company seminars, and The University of Akron classes, our goal is to help you effectively present yourself and your story.
In this newsletter, I would like you to come with me as we visit my life long passion from the viewpoint of presentation skills.
As you may know, horses have played a big part in my life. Electric Impulse is named
after a horse, one of the first words I am told that I spoke was horse, and I showed
horses on the national level. Several years ago I developed a theory:
Everything I know about presentation skills I learned through horse shows.
Recently I tested this theory at a horse show, as I applied these lessons to the horses, riders, and their coaches that I observed. I would like to share my observations with you as I ask you to apply these lessons to your hobby, your profession, and your personal life.
EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT PRESENTATION SKILLS I LEARNED THROUGH HORSE SHOWS
1. TEACH THE HOW
I watched a coach instruct her rider to “SIT STRAIGHT”. “SIT STRAIGHT” she coaxed, pleaded, demanded. No response from her student. Then the coach yelled “your leaning left”. No change in posture. Finally the coach said, “lean right”. Telling someone to sit straight does not tell them HOW to accomplish the feat. When finally in exasperation the coach told her student to lean right, she told her student the HOW. We often know the end result we are striving for, do we know and do we teach those around us the HOW? In presentation skills you want to learn the HOW.
2. FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT
Each horse comes into the horse show ring individually. The class does not officially begin until every horse is in the ring and the gate is closed. The entrance into the ring is called “coming in the gate”. It is not supposed to count. However, similar to instructing a jury to strike that comment, it is difficult to forget a great or a poor entrance. We know the first
7 seconds are important. People form an opinion in the first 7 seconds and then confirm that opinion in the next 4 minutes WHETHER it is a horse show, a sales presentation, or a public speaking opportunity. What are your first 7 seconds saying about you?
3. PRACTICE IN THE ENVIRONMENT WHERE YOU WILL BE PRESENTING
While the horse show is in recess, you will see riders and their horses practicing in the ring or arena far into the night. The riders and their horses become familiar with the layout, the acoustics, and each building’s idiosyncrasies. Your goal is to see the room in which you will
present, practice in it if possible, and sit in the audience so you can see what the audience members see. At a horse show the rider has not only practiced in the arena of competition, has also practiced in the clothes they will be wearing, the equipment they will be using. This principle correlates to you practicing in the room, with your equipment (whether it is yours or rented) with the microphone, with the markers, the flipchart, your new shoes, etc.
4. APPEARANCE DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE Refer to #8
5. KNOW HOW YOU ARE BEING EVALUATED
Every horse show judge, just as every audience, has a different priority to the criteria by which they will evaluate you and your performance. You need to discover your specific audience’s priority in their criteria to choosing your services or selecting your product or in evaluating your presentation. Is it price, availability, quality, terms of payment, location, school district? Is it experience, trustworthiness, years in business?
6. BEING TENTATIVE IS A NEGATIVE
Ten horses compete in the same class. As the class develops, two horses emerge as the two best horses in this class. One will be first and one will be second. They are each very good and could win first place. One horse waits a few seconds longer before reacting, one horse looks very strong, the other less sure that what he is doing is right. A subtle difference. Whether at a horse show, with your client, or the prospective client that you have been courting, being tentative detracts from the positive, empowered, and confidant image you want to portray. Your words and your body language both need to say EMPOWERED.
7. ONLY 15 SECONDS ARE IMPORTATNT
Which 15 seconds is the question. An audience or a client, like a horse show judge is not looking at you every minute. You can win a class at a horse show by being great for just the 15 seconds the judge sees you. The same concept applies to any presentation. Your audience of one or one hundred is looking at you intermittently. You just don’t know for sure when they are giving you 100% or 10% of their attention—So you have to strive for greatness at all times.
8. THE BEST HORSE DOES NOT ALWAYS WIN
The horse presented best WINS. The best product, the best proposal, the best price, does not always win. The victory, the order, the client goes to the product, the service, the program presented most effectively.
9. KNOW WHAT TO DO IN DIFFEERENT CRISES SITUATIONS
So you are riding 1000 pounds of horse, the final seconds before your national competition, it has taken you years to get to this point. When a grandmother pushing a baby stroller crosses your path, or a spectator opens their umbrella, a child drops their toy as it echoes throughout the arena . . .get my drift? In your world of presentation crises, your overhead may stop working, markers run out of ink, the microphone stops working, the lights go out, a fire drill occurs! Think through every scenario in advance, so that in the first 7 seconds of any crises you will not hesitate and you will continue to look like the leader.
10. AN EFFECTIVE COACH MAKES A DIFFERENCE
Imagine a horse show arena the size of a football field. And yet one coach, at one place in that arena, talking to their student, effectively telling them HOW to correct a problem or how to continue doing the right thing, can mean the difference between owning the world and praying the ground will swallow you whole. There is no horse professional – no matter how well paid or well known or how old - who would enter the horse show ring without someone talking them through their class. In all aspects of your career, the role of an effective coach or mentor can make the difference.
COME TO ELECTRIC IMPULSE TO HAVE YOUR NEXT PRESENTATION SUPERCHARGED!