I was at a BNI chapter last Friday, listening to the member that was delivering his 10-minute presentation. I say I was listening – that’s actually completely untrue: 3-4 minutes in, I had developed something of a trance-like state, and I was thinking about what I was doing that weekend (a visit to the in-laws, since you ask).
I then checked myself – I must concentrate on the presentation! Looking round the room however, I noticed that about 25 other people (out of 30 in the room) were also staring into the middle distance in various trance-like states. This got me thinking: why were just a small minority of the room paying attention? As BNI members, they will have spent time building relationships with the speaker – he had a 5-year member badge on – so he clearly should have had the respect of his fellow members.
I started to analyse his presentation. He was dressed professionally. He had plenty of experience in his field. He had plenty of credibility as a businessperson. His body language indicated that he was a comfortable presenter. The way he modulated his voice suggested he’d had some presentation skills training. He had clearly prepared (he was using little note cards as a reminder of his various points). And yet he’d completely lost the room. Why?
Essentially, he was delivering his message in just an auditory style. This means that he was simply standing at the front of the room, talking at his audience. That was absolutely fine for the small number of people in the room who are auditory learners – they had no difficulty engaging in his message, because that’s the way they like to take in information.
However, for the rest of us as Visual/Kinaesthetic learners – his delivery wasn’t engaging us at all. Some form of visual stimulus – like using a flip chart, or perhaps physically demonstrating his service would have made a massive difference to how we took in the information he was giving us.
Have a think about the last presentation you made or saw – did you or the speaker make allowances for the learning styles of the audience? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments section below…