The Exceptional Presenter, Time Koegel, Presentation Academy

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The Will to Win

By Tim Koegel

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The Presentation Academy is now officially open in beautiful downtown historic Annapolis.  Schedule your training or retreat in this unique environment and prepare for an exceptional learning experience.
"I have a dream." 
                     Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today, Martin Luther King Day, we reflect on one of the greatest speeches in history, delivered to a crowd of more than 250,000 people in Washington, DC on August 28, 1963.
Dr. King's, "I have a dream" speech was delivered with incredible passion and clarity.  It was remarkable in its structure, content and delivery.  It was delivered by a man who knew he was putting himself in peril by leading the civil rights movement of the 1960s. It was delivered by a man who also understood what was at stake in the course of human history.  
Dear Tim,
"The will to prepare is vital."
Former NY Giants quarterback and now commentator Phil Simms was interviewed recently regarding the current National Football League teams battling for Super Bowl supremacy.  Simms was asked about New England head coach Bill Belichick and the tremendous success he and the Patriots have had in recent years. The interviewer asked Simms if other teams can replicate Belichick's system.
Without hesitating Simms answered, "No." He said that Belicheck has a unique ability to stay focused on what needs to be done in order to win and to continually improve.  He doesn't get distracted.  He doesn't get sidetracked. He doesn't get satisfied. He never loses focus.  Period. 
Simms said that other teams simply don't have the discipline to stay focused, day after day, week after week and year after year.  They get distracted. They get satisfied. They get bored.  They get complacent.
I recently met with the management team of a company that is a leader in its industry. This team felt that their sales force had become complacent.  Their presentations appear "tired, lazy and unprepared."  The presentations are not doing justice to their products.  More importantly, the lack of preparation and lack of enthusiasm are sending the wrong message to the customers. That message being, "We have the best product, so buy it!  And hurry up because I have several other customers to get to before I call it a day."
University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino said, "Once you start thinking that you are a success, you have started your decline."
How much time do you invest preparing for client meetings and presentations?  How enthusiastic do you appear when presenting your products or services?
A CEO recently said to me, "I'm going to be meeting with 3 or 4 of their top people, giving them a progress report. We'll just be sitting around a table going through the material.  It's not really a presentation. 
Excuse me? It's not a presentation? If you are interacting in any way, shape or venue with your client, customer or prospect,  IT'S A PRESENTATION.
Approach each presentation with a renewed enthusiasm.  Approach every interaction as an opportunity to demonstrate the respect and appreciation you have for your client.  Deliver your material in a manner that reflects the confidence you have in your product.
Present to win
or prepare to lose.
"The will to win is important.  The will to prepare is vital."   
                          - Joe Paterno
Assessing the candidates:
If you want to improve your communication skills, observe and assess the presentation skills of the Presidential candidates.
Exercise:  Write down the name of your favorite candidate.  Now, write down everything you know about that person's health care plan, their position on improving the economy or what they are planning to do about Social Security.
Unless you are a political pundit, you probably did not write down much.  Most people don't have time to understand the details of why a candidate suports or opposes a specific issue.  
Watch the debates and the interviews.  Look for the verbal and nonverbal signs of confidence, conviction and sincerely.  Watch the candidates under pressure and try to pick up changes in their deliver that could indicate discomfort or uncertainty.
Candidate for President are people whose goal it is to occupy the most powerful office in the United States and perhaps the world.  The person who is elected will represent 300 million people.  Do their presentation skills measure up?

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