Great Presentation is NOT About Being Perfect

Think about the best presentations, classes or speeches that you’ve ever seen (heard). We the speakers perfect? Yes! After all, they were the best you’ve ever heard and you remember them. Wait. Perfect? No.

Perfectly good.

There’s a difference in trying to be perfect by looking perfect, choosing the perfect words, designing the perfect slides, setting the perfect tone and delivering everything…perfectly. But a perfect presentation does not mean you will get good results. You might get an “A” for effort and still fail to connect with your audience.

Have you ever seen Stephen Hawking? There is no way he is going to be a perfect presenter. He cannot. Yet, when Stephen Hawking speaks through his computer assisted synthesizer, you can hear a pin drop.

I love education and watch a lot of lectures online through M.I.T’s Open Courseware. I can watch some of the foremost lecturers in the world speak on physics, literature and many other topics. I especially love Dr. David Thorburn and Dr. Walter Lewin. these guys are rock stars of the academic lecture! Rock stars.

I encourage you to look for them online. Perfect? No. Dr. Lewin has a rather heavy though charming Dutch accent. He makes mistakes. His hair is wild and I doubt he owns an iron! He is fascinating. Walter Lewin is a great lecturer.

Dr. David Thorburn is my favorite. I plan to meet him in Boston soon. I love his lectures on very difficult to understand books. He throws light on books like Ulysses and Absalom! Absalom! These aren’t easy books to read. I doubt I could talk you into reading them. Dr. Thorburn could.

Dr. Thorburn gets so excited about explaining an esoteric nugget in Absalom! Absalom! that he will rock back and forth and pause for seconds as he searches for just the right word and then BAM! he smiles and gestures and teaches in great contagious bursts of love of the subject. I want to be that good!

And that’s what great presentation is. Can you project a passion, a love of your subject? If so, you are well on your way to being a great speaker.

If not, this is a skill you can learn and I can teach you. That’s my job. I love what I do! And I really enjoy the places I get to go and the people I get to meet. I can’t wait to work with you!

Thank you,

Chris Reich