Eminem Ups Your Presenting Game!
“I know everything he's 'bout to say against me, I am a f&%@ing bum, I do live in a trailer with my mom!”
- Rabbit (Eminem) in 8 Mile
What can we learn from the final rap battle scene in 8 Mile where Rabbit is taking on Pappa Doc? The principle of calling a spade a spade when it comes to presenting. (watch the video below for the details) One of the worst mistakes we make as presenters is to try to hide our emotions or cover up any potential flaws to our talk. Maybe we know ahead of time that our sound equipment sucks and will be spotty. Maybe we are really nervous, or maybe you know the topic may be difficult to swallow for some people. Whenever this happens our gut reaction is always going to tell us to ignore the issue, and wish for the best, hope that it all works out. But hope isn’t a strategy…
News flash, most of the time it won’t…that is why we need to pull an 8-Mile and be upfront with our audience. This does two important things.
First of it humanizes you, and gives your presentation transparency from the start which is huge in the fluency your presentation can gain by having the audience trust you.
Secondly it makes your audience immediately be on your side. This is very important because as we present we want to eliminate all hurdles that could possible get in our way from connecting with the audience.
Let me run through the above scenarios with ways to 8-Mile it:
Sound equipment sucks
During your opening monologue ask the group for a favor, “I know I just started speaking but can I ask you all for a favor?” Wait for the group to react and say yes. “So, I am pretty sure the sound equipment is really spotty, can you all do me a favor and if the sound becomes an issue at all can you give me the peace sign (demo it) so I can yell, or whisper, whatever the case is (smile and laugh).”
This sets you up for more interaction during the meeting, and your group is now on your side about the sound not working and will even offer you help to fix it!
You are nervous
I reference this in the video above
Difficult topic for the audience
This one is something that I have had to do multipole times in my career and is never easy, but the best way to navigate it is to not shy a way from those feelings and making sure to be honest with your group. “Before I dive into this next topic I need to level with everyone here. I know that there are some of you out there who this presentation may hurt, or be difficult to hear. I want you to know that although that may be true, I also want you to know that you are supported and that I am here to help guide you through this challenging situation. I may not have all the answers but I can promise you the truth and my full commitment to helping you get through this.”
This approach ensure that your audience knows your intention is to support them and not just deliver bad news.
As I write this blog post we are smack dab in the middle of the covid-19 pandemic. Tomorrow is Easton Sunday and it will be the first time I can ever remember where My kids and I didn’t do something with friends or family to celebrate.
As I think about the past month and working from home, this concept of the 8-mile has also really appeared valuable for online presentations. Check out the video below for 2 important tips on utilizing this strategy to help with zoom meetings!