Why is presentation important?

Posted by  chandni —February 4, 2008
Filed in Anecdotes

There are probably a 100 reasons why presentation is important. But a laundry list of reasons won’t get the point across as effectively as a story can. Here’s an interesting anecdote I read recently:

Gary Bush’s passion for his craft makes him my most memorable teacher. I took a course called Presentation Fundamentals from him back in the early 1990’s. I still remember it vividly to this day, plus still often use the training materials from that class.

My favorite memory of Gary is from when he came into the classroom after a break – no introduction, no explanation, no talking – looking rather dishevelled. He started serving pieces of cake by scooping them out with his bare hand and onto brown bathroom-type paper towels. He didn’t get very many takers for pieces of cake.

He then left the room and reappeared a few minutes later dressed like a waiter from a fine dining establishment. He had the cake on a fancy rolling serving cart, along with silver, china, and cloth napkins. He served up the cake again, spoke politely to each prospective cake-eater, and obviously got quite a different response the second time round. He then debriefed the whole event with the gist of the message received by the students (without a second of “lecture”) being, “it’s all in the presentation.” The cake was still the same cake, but the audience members’ reactions sure were different.

I read this anecdote in an ebook called My Most Memorable Teacher (or Trainer). It’s an amazing compilation of stories put together by Elliot Maise.

To understand and share what makes great teachers, he invited people to send stories about their best teachers. The book contains around 750 testimonials and anecdotes about teachers who made a difference, and the stories give a great insight into what makes the teaching experience memorable. Storytelling, of course, is a key factor.

What an excellent approach to cultivating the right behaviors in people!

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