Knowing when to stop is an important skill to have whether you are speaking to an audience, giving a presentation workshop at work, accepting an award, introducing someone at an event, talking to a client, pitching on Shark Tank or even giving a sermon!
When you forget to stop what you will get is confusion, loss of interest and overwhelm. Your message and information can very easily be lost.
In case you did not watch the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle you may not have seen Reverend Curry’s sermon (courtesy ABC News) given at the wedding. Have a look. It was a great sermon, different, emotional and caught everyone’s attention. Unfortunately it missed being an awesome sermon and nearly ended up losing everyone because he forgot to stop!
This is a great example of what happens when passion, enthusiasm, adlibbing, the excitement of the moment can have a disastrous effect on the message and connection that you want with your audience, client or in this case the wedding guests.
There were several missed opportunities in the sermon where the Reverend could have finished powerfully. There was humour, there was thought, there was love – there just was no powerful, in control finish.
It can happen to anyone, even the best professional speaker. I have no doubt that Reverend Curry is a great speaker and delivers magnificent sermons. This time, however, I believe the excitement and the passion overwhelmed the presentation skills. He had prepared, he presented well however the he started to adlib, shared the emotion and the connection and lost the power of knowing when to stop.
So what can you do to ensure that you stop at the right moment?
Firstly, know what you want to achieve, the outcome you want.
Secondly, structure your presentation, your consultation, your strategy session to achieve the outcome
Thirdly, use a structure that will prevent waffle and will give you that conclusion and ending you want. As Winston Churchill said when asked about his great speeches: tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you have told them. Another outline you can use is PREP: Point, Reason, Examples/Explanations, Point then STOP.
Fourthly, be aware of timing. How long do you have for your presentation, how long is the consultation, look at your brief and stick to the time.
Fifthly, Practice practice – prepare prepare. Put it all together, make sure it fulfils the brief and the time and then own it.
Sixthly, don’t be tempted to adlib too much. Some spontaneity will be there – we all bring our personal touches to every presentation. Just don’t let the adlibbing control you – you control it.
Seventhly, control the emotions. Breathe and focus on the end result. Watch and be aware of what you are presenting and how you are presenting. If things start to get out of control, step back take control and stop. Be confident to bring your presentation to a quick polished conclusion.
Don’t feel that just because you prepared the presentation that you have to give all of it – if you have lost control, if the emotion and connection to your audience becomes overwhelming, and you can sense the presentation is going too long be confident to ditch the rest of the presentation and close powerfully what you have given.
Watch and listen to Reverend Curry’s sermon (courtesy ABC News). Think about the tips I shared and see where the sermon could have become powerful and awesome instead of great.
What do you think?
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