Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mind the gaps

Coming up on four years of working with folks to enhance their presentations (and thus their result) I'm finding that once we build the thing and run it for the first time we are usually faced with gaps between concepts. Ideas without transitions is another way of putting it. We begin with our introduction and then stumble um and ah, stumble some more, until we stop and figure out how we're getting from the intro to our first big idea. Same thing happens when we go from the first big idea to the second, or even to the first idea supporting the first big idea. yikes.

Sometimes we realize the first big idea doesn't even belong after the intro, it belongs after the second big idea. Every once in a while we take a big deep breath and admit that the first big idea doesn't belong in this presentation! (I'm always glad when the client is the realizer for this one. Of course I'll always tell them if something doesn't belong, but it's better when they tell me first.)

These "gaps" between parts of our presentations are inevitable and important to work through. No matter what we discover, whether it's a transition point or story, moral to the story, whether it's moving things around or taking things out, the key is to do it BEFORE you actually give the presentation. That is unless you like walking a tightrope without a net.

As laborious as it is for my clients to go through their presentation that first time and find and fix these gaps, it's much better than the panic they would feel were they to fall through the gaps in front of a live (gulp) audience.