I can’t remember vividly whether in a previous article or one of the books I wrote, I told the story of someone that was invited to make a presentation in an event. This platform was a huge one, and was an opportunity for him to push his career from where it was, to where it should be, but unfortunately, he blew it because for reasons best known to him, when he was introduced, for about five minutes, he was hiding behind the sound engineers. I was highly embarrassed even if it wasn’t me. Where I sat, I was rumbling within me and wondering why a professional with great intelligence would allow his nerves to take the better part of him.
In another event, as I sat and went through the programme, I was impressed with the topic about to be presented by the main speaker of the day. When he took the podium, it was nakedly obvious that he is an intelligent man who has a lot to offer, but he blew the opportunity to sell himself in a well and diverse representation of people from different social economic backgrounds – the reason being that he deviated completely from the subject matter as he was bent on marketing his upcoming book; so he spoke on his book title without making the audience aware that he was changing the topic. The catastrophe of his presentation was that from start to finish, he was disorganised. His materials were everywhere; he was jumping from sub-topic to sub-topic while at the same time, skipping pages. To shoot himself on the foot, he asked, ‘Are you all tired of the presentation?’ And everyone’s echo was a loud ‘Yes!’
Sometimes, in my little corner at home, I ask myself, ‘If I am given one minute to address a people, what will I say, in order to leave an indelible mark in the minds of the audience?’ On certain occasions, I would ruminate in my heart by saying, ‘How can you sell yourself in one minute?’ Remember that selling yourself in one minute doesn’t necessarily mean talking about yourself, but addressing a subject matter within the confines of extreme limited timing, and yet leaving a timeless message that will spark a positive revolution in the minds and lives of those who took time out of their busy schedules to give you their ears.
I think every adult knows the relevance of good preparation in making a good presentation. We also know that going through the materials before presentation is paramount to dishing quality meal when called upon. But what about a situation where you weren’t aware that you’ll be called upon; in that condition, what would you do? It may be odd, but as a proactive person who anticipates the future, these are the steps I take from day to day, to help me make adequate preparations.
1. I create topics in my mind and ponder on them even without events to deliver them. This appears crazy, but it has helped me develop my public speaking and writing skills. I don’t wait for events before I ruminate. Everyday, I have events on my mind. Everyday, I attend events on my mind. You may call me crazy, but you have no clue how this principle helps develop your mind and enhance your intelligence. Because of this approach, I daily come up with my personal motivational quotes. I like to quote myself. I like to come up with originality. Without rumination, you will keep saying what others are saying, but what are you saying? In times of adversities, what other people say can’t keep you; it is what you say that will pull you out of the doldrums.
2. I create sceneries in my mind to reflect where I want to stand. Truly, in my mind, I’ve gone to Carolina. Dark and silent late last night, I think I might have heard the highway calling. Geese in flight and dogs that bite. And signs that might be omens say I’m going, going I’m gone to Carolina in my mind.
Creating sceneries has helped me in times of my downtrodden. When a couple of years ago, life choked me beyond comprehension, and the major voice I heard was suicide, sceneries of a better future rescued me. I position myself boldly on platforms not yet available. I speak to empty conference rooms with the audiences well painted in my mind. I’ve never been less busy. I am a great speaker!
3. I make notes of the main points and quotes I receive from rumination. I never let any relevant information fly away because I know that if I wait a minute longer, I will lose a treasure. You never can tell the treasure that’ll make you, so never take it for granted.
4. Lastly, I time myself through the process of standardization. Bottles of drinks are standardized; they come in different volumes. If you can’t afford or need a litre volume, you can go for smaller ones. That’s what I do when I ruminate. I ask myself, ‘If I am given 15 minutes to speak, how many words can I deliver? And what is the quality of the words?’ Or, ‘If I am given only a minute, how can I make an impress in the minds of the audience?’ Through standardization, I time!