"Umm, that's our picture? You stole that from our website and put it on your slide!"
The best part was that she accused him during the presentation for everyone to witness.
The presenter fessed up, but it was already too late. He immediately lost all of his credibility. I, unfortunately, did not have my popcorn to enjoy the cringe that everyone felt in the room.
When it comes to presentations, Brian Burkhart is one of the most seasoned and effective presentation coaches I know. He's coached A-list celebrities as well as startup founders who went on to raise millions of dollars with their new presentations.
I've had the pleasure of sitting on presentation preparations where Brian gives feedback on presentations. The most memorable experience for me was when one of the presenters was convinced his speech was the greatest thing since Leonardo Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa.
Well, he thought it was good until he presented in front of Brian. I've never seen someone go from so confident to completely lost as fast as this moment. Brian gave his feedback, which was pretty direct and harsh, and the presenter was shocked to hear it. He even shed a tear from how unexpected it was.
Don't worry. It was a good tear.
Brian said something to the presenter that I'll never forget.
"Will you please just act like you care?"
Brian stared at him and repeated it again.
"ACT LIKE YOU GIVE A SH**. If you don't care, your audience definitely won't either."
The presenter's jaw dropped. He was in absolute shock. I'll admit, at first he was a little defensive, but as the night went on, he knew Brian was right.
This tip from Brian single-handedly changed how I give presentations. I used to give multiple presentations about career advancement, but I never included the story about why I cared so much about the topic and what it means to me. Once I included why I cared so much in the beginning of my talk, positive reviews of my presentation skyrocketed. What's also interesting is that it made me a much more passionate speaker.
If the presenter I wrote about in the beginning of this article actually cared about his presentation, he wouldn't have blatantly stolen an image from Google images. He just didn't care enough about the presentation and cut corners with it. It was a waste of everyone's time.
Think about some of the best presentations you've seen.
What was the one trait that set them apart from everyone else? They all deeply cared about what they were presenting.
Each presenter passionate, deeply personal speeches. You can tell that what they were talking about meant something to them.
I asked Brian how he can tell if someone cares about what they're presenting.
"It's all about their energy and flow of the presentation. Some of the best presentations are people who can take all of their energy and wear it on their shirt. They use their hands a lot. They change their tone of voice depending on the context, and lastly, you can tell they care if they start sharing personal stories that aren't listed on the slides."
Is it possible to give passionate speeches about boring topics? Do boring topics get a pass?
"There is no such thing as boring topics, just boring people. I've seen some of the dryest, most boring topics get standing ovations by the audience because the presenter was just cared so much about what she was talking about. The kiss of death in presentations is to be boring."
Amen to that. I've noticed myself dozing off in presentations where they ramble on and on. It's no good for anyone.
If you're looking to give the presentation of your life, make sure you care. If you truly don't care, and you can get away with not doing it, avoid it. You'll save time and energy for everyone involved.