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Be the Butt in the Chair


In the cult-hit movie, Caddyshack, Chevy Chase advises his caddy to “Be the ball, be the ball.” (Driving it while blindfolded, so he can have a truly Zen-like ball moment.)

Great advice for making presentations, too. Be the audience, be the audience …not you. Be that butt in the chair that experiences your presentation.

In her terrific HBR blog post, Disarm Your Audience, presentation-guru Nancy Duarte covers three types of audience resistance which come with most every butt in the chair:
Logical Resistance
Emotional Resistance
Practical Resistance
Which are the same things as, and why I advice everyone to organize all presentations around…

Know, Feel, Do 

 Know: Be the audience… What’s the one thing that your audience most wants to (or needs to) understand, grasp or have an Aha about. Addressing this takes true mastery — this can’t be the one thing YOU want them to understand. It has to be from THEIR perspective, not yours. As Duarte says, in order to overcome resistance, when preparing, try to make the argument against your key points…Somewhere in there is their perspective. 

 Feel: Be the audience… What one emotion is key to audience buy-in and THEIR success (not yours). Is it their fear of change? Hunger for motivation from above? Need for things to be easier? Connect with that, right up front. (Many of my presentations begin with a Bill Clinton-esque connection. [His: “I feel your pain.” Mine: “You work wayyyyyyy too hard!”]) Duarte calls this tapping into the audience’s most-raw nerves.

 Do: Be the audience… What’s the one action you most need for them to perform for you to be successful and for THEM to be successful. Make taking that action easier for them. Give them tools, guidelines, simplified steps, a resource to call upon. Everyone is overloaded. You’re only going to get that action if you make it as easy as possible to take that action. Duarte calls addressing this practical resistance.
For more on how to do this (following the guidelines I just gave you!) here’s a freebie download on Know, Feel, Do and more. Enjoy!

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