Don’t be the Opening Batsman in Your Presentations…

“You need more oomph, more edge, more va va voom!” I begged my client to elevate his game (he’s the big boss of a global organisation, we’ll call him Jez).  

Because in his words…

“I don’t want to bore the pants off everyone, its got to be catchy, fun, entertaining with a powerful message to take away about growth for next year”

Does this sound familiar?   No one wants to bore the pants off anyone do they? 

So I shared my triple A formula and my top 3 tips with him and told him what he needed to hear.

‘You can’t be a safe pair of hands and risk averse if you want to captivate your audience’s hearts and minds…

…. Jez, you have to take a risk, throw yourself into it, wear your heart on your sleeve and venture outside your comfort zone …. remember that’s where the magic happens!”

He mulled this over for a few moments as he sipped his tea, then he took off his jacket and picked up the random cricket ball that was sitting on his desk.

“Oh you mean you don’t want me to be the opening batsman?”

Eerrrr, I looked a bit puzzled

“Geoffrey Boycott was the archetypal opening Batsman” he said. 

Here’s the cricket techie bit….(Jez loves to talk about cricket!)

“The objective of an opening batsman is to wear down the bowlers and take the shine off the new ball.  If runs are scored they are usually singles just to keep the scoreboard ticking over……it’s all about no risks…frankly to the untrained eye it makes for a pretty boring spectacle and would be no good in a presentation, I see that now.”

Hozatt! 

Yes , – he was right – he wanted to be more Botham than Boycott! 

Jez got rather excited by this analogy and continued to immerse himself in the cricket theme…

“You need to be a more explosive middle order batsman, who’s innovation and talent puts runs on the board by disrupting the bowlers and playing superb creative shots; seeing angles through the fielders and the gaps in the field – terrific stuff.”

Ah ha, at that moment I knew we were going to come up with an innovative and exciting speech together.

It was clear Jez, didn’t want to be the inherently conservative steady opening batsman (in presentation terms, a crowd turn off)

“I can do edgy, I can do exciting,” Jez promised. Help me come up with a few stories that will bring the house down Esther…...”

Hurrah I love it when the penny drops!

And then we wrote the most fantastic heart- felt speech ever.

He wasn’t bowled out – he was a crowd pleaser.  The audience loved it. (And I learned a thing or two about cricket!)

I have helped hundreds of CEOs, senior partners and business leaders nail their speech by being more middle batsman.  If you need to win over your audience’s hearts and mind, contact me now so we can innovate together in 2017!  Contact claire@estherstanhope.com

Matthew Stroud