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Trusting the Human Experience: Why the Average Joe’s Presentation Advice Is Worth Listening to Too.



“So do you know this Steve guy?”  That was the question a colleague in a professional association asked me on the phone after we exchanged the obligatory how-are-you-I’m-fines.


I had heard of the guy.  I didn’t get a good feeling about him the first time I came across his name and company.  You know how it is when you just get that feeling like “there’s something about this guy I don’t trust”?  Nothing I’d learned since that first impression had changed my mind.  So I briefly told my colleague why I had reservations about Steve.


“Ah OK.  Well then that explains this email too.”  My colleague then shared an email he’d received from Steve which was just one more piece of evidence that my initial suspicions that Steve couldn’t be trusted were correct.


There are certain aspects of the human condition that normal, healthy human beings share.  We healthy human beings get a gut feeling when someone isn’t really interested in us, but instead is interested in making money off of us (that was the case with Steve).  We healthy human beings know when people are being sincere with us and have the best of intentions.  And we healthy human beings know when we watch a presenter if the presenter did a good job or not.


While my business is focused on studying the art and science of public speaking and I’ve read more books, watched more hours of speeches, and listened to more podcasts presentations than the average Joe, that doesn’t mean that the average Joe doesn’t still have advice that can help a presenter improve.



Seek Out Average Joe’s Advice


Many presentations aren’t so critical that you need to hire a speech coach to help you improve your presentation.  Or maybe you don’t have the time or money to hire a professional.  You (and your audience) can still benefit greatly if you rehearse your presentation with one or two other people before you give the actual presentation.


Ask an average Joe in your life to listen to your presentation and give you honest feedback.  Stack the Joes in your favor — if you’re presenting on a technical topic to a business audience, seek out an average Joe who knows nothing about technology.  If the average Joe can’t understand you, then in all likelihood, neither will your business audience.  If you’re speaking to a group that’s made up of your peers, then find an average Joe peer who can give you advice on whether your approach is too basic or too far above the heads of your audience of peers.  Just running through your presentation with a supportive average Joe can help you feel more comfortable and confident when you present.


Average Joes Have Life Experience Too


If they’ve got both ears and both eyes or even a partial number of these four body parts, then the average Joe can comment on what he likes about a presentation.  He can comment on caused him confusion.  He can say what he didn’t like about the presentation.  You may decide to take the feedback with a grain of salt.  But getting that feedback in the first place will likely help you be better off in the long run.



What’s the Last or Best Piece of Presentation Advice You’ve Gotten From an Average Joe?


Probably one of the best comment that was the most helpful for me came from an average Jo Ann in this case.  She told me that she’d heard other speakers talk about presentation skills but she’d never heard it put like that before and that the information was helpful.


That was such a huge gift to me – it was a gift I didn’t know I wanted – but has helped me tremendously in my speaking, coaching and training business.  People aren’t looking for more of the same.  They want new insights that they haven’t heard, and I happened to have some.  Thanks, Jo Ann!


How about you?  What advice or comment have you gotten from an average Joe that helped improve one of your presentations?  Share in the comments below!