The client was comfortable and very
effective in normal conversational situations. He became anxious and
stilted when he had to give a formal presentation, especially one
using Power Point.
I asked him to think of a subject he
knew nothing about. Then I gave him two minutes to prepare a two
minute presentation to me. I “assured” him that I would be the
most bored and difficult audience he could imagine! I would look
uninterested, fidget and yawn.
This brief made him laugh and he
realised he had nothing to lose and went for it. He gave a very good
presentation in spite of the circumstances.
The results and learning
He learned that he
was very effective when he used his natural conversational style. He
did not need technological props.
In the months afterwards
He found he was
enjoying presenting to clients his way, informally and without props.
This was easier, the clients liked it as it was more interactive and
the results for the organisation were better because of this.
Several years later
He still remembers
and draws on the experience. He is senior now and “gets into
trouble” because he won't talk to an audience from a lectern. He
wanders about and talks to people. “I just insist on being myself.
Why did this
work so well?
We created enough trust that he was prepared to face his fears head
on. The situation was clearly ridiculous and quite light hearted so
nothing could actually go wrong. “Doing it” helped him see that
his fear was just fear, which is a feeling not a real threat. “Doing
it” also meant that he felt his fear and let it discharge
harmlessly. When you do this, you spontaneously re-evaluate the
experiences that caused the fear. He realised he was good at
presentations when he did them his way, and that was good for him,
the organisation and his clients. It was a triple win. (Four way as I
enjoyed it too!)
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