Your Next BIG Speech
This is for my peeps, yo!
Today, we’ll continue with our guide to presenters: how to address different audiences. This post – talking to your peers.
Ok, maybe I should restate that. Peers are your colleagues, cooperators, collaborators, cohorts, or classmates. These are the professionals doing work similar to yours. If you are an author, this would be like doing a book reading with fellow writers. If you’re a teacher, this would be like sharing insights at a teachers’ workshop. And, if you are like me, this would be presenting new research to other scientists. Presenting to peers is a bit of a dichotomy. Theoretically, they should be the easiest group for which to present. They have the same background, same education, same understanding, and same expectations as you. They traditionally like what you like and share similar life experiences. Therefore, you should be able to easily design your talk. You should design it as something you would like to see. That is a fairly straightforward concept. Conversely, peers are also one of the hardest groups to present to because they have the same background, education, understanding, and expectations as you. They like what you like. They know what you know. There is often very little room for error. You make a mistake and they will all know – immediately. If you use poor or suspect methods for your research, they will quickly call you out on it. If your conclusions stink, oh yeah, they can easily smell that, too. When compared to other audiences, there is no greater risk-reward than working with a roomful of peers. If you are good, you will continue to be invited back, again and again. Eventually, you may even keynote a conference or meeting. But, if you trip over yourself enough times, you will begin to lose face, lose partners, and lose funding. And after that, you are done. Don’t let that happen, ok?
Peers are like you, only better
There is an easy answer to impress your peers. Do MORE. That’s right. Do more. Do you remember my discussion about lazy students? Guess what happens to lazy students? They grow up to become lazy adults. They continue to do the bare minimum in preparation and effort. They can’t be bothered with making their talks look or sound better, so they throw together a presentation that meets only minimum expectations. They copy and paste figures from their report into a presentation. They format their presentation so that it is directly comparable to something they have already done before.
Chances are…it probably is something they’ve done before. They chunk text word-for-word from paper to screen, showing slides overflowing with text. They use clip art. They start their talk the night before they present. They then tweak and futz with their presentation up until the very last minute. Come on…we’ve all seen them. Those scattered individuals sitting on the floor, backs against the wall. They’re out there with their laptops plugged in and their fingers scratching around the track pad. You can see a little pearl of sweat over their brow. They are adding new text mere moments before they enter the room where they will be presenting. Don’t be that person. Be better. Do MORE. Just because “that’s the way it’s done” doesn’t mean it’s right, or good. Be better. Make more effort and show your peers that you care enough about their time and interest that you are willing to work on making your presentation as engaging a product as possible. There is always more that you can do. That is really the key for presenting with peers – stand out by paying attention to the details and showing that you care. It doesn’t take much of that MORE to be the best speaker in the room. Unfortunately, the bar is pretty low – set the new bar.
Tip #1 – Do more!
Parenting & Public Speaking. Together
The behaviors, experiences, and techniques parents use everyday can improve YOUR NEXT BIG SPEECH. Whether it be using silly voices or just playing with the kids, these actions improve self-confidence, stage presence, and audience engagement. And that’s just the beginning…