What has prompted today’s TST? I was musing recently about the difficulty I have with delegates who use the apparent ‘dryness’ of their subject matter as an excuse for not bringing their presentations alive. And I began to wonder if this same barrier might be in the minds of my loyal TST readers too.

After many a session on creating interest, I would be a rich woman if I had a pound for every delegate who has ever remarked ”That’s OK for you to say Sonya – my subject is far too dry to add interest.”

Yes, I’m sure there are certain occasions when you are literally spouting data with no real audience involvement but if that is all there is to your speech, why are you speaking at all?   Why physically drag folk from far and wide if that is all you have to offer? Are you simply talking face to face because that’s how it’s always been done, rather than because it is necessary? If so, banish this kind of data transfer to a different communication medium, maybe attach it to a group email instead, which will free up time to spend on the presentations that you can make interesting.

Most people are not prepared to put the effort in, so I have learned that ‘dry subject’ is code for “Do you know what Son, I really can’t be bothered” This is a pity because you can make any speech interesting if you are prepared to take the time and trouble.

Some food for thought – why not look for a story to help the subject find a human face? How about adding some humour, either visually or in the words you say? People worry that stories or humour will be seen as flippant or facile but they won’t if you get it right. Sometimes a quirky picture next to some solid facts can give folk a new perspective. Find reasons to draw the audience in, gaining their ideas and involvement, helping them to become more engaged, whilst gathering some valuable nuggets yourself. Bring props that folk can touch and pass round, find a new angle of approach … but whatever you do, do something! If your presentation hasn’t been changed since 1998 then drag it into the 21st century and begin to enjoy your talks again. And stop using ‘dry denial’ as an excuse!

Action Point: If you or your team are suffering from ‘Dry Denial’ and you would like to learn how to bring your presentations to life and give your audiences a real reason to attend your talks, contact us for additional information or to arrange a chat with one of the Stratus team.

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Stratus Associates