Planners and Performers
post # 352 — April 12, 2007 — a Client Relations post
This blogpost continues this week’s series on making presentations. See here and here.
There’s a spectrum of presentation styles, between planners and peformers.
I’m the latter.
Personally, I have difficulty sometimes working with and through human resource and training departments who, when we’re working on putting together seminars or speeches, want to:
- Specify learning objectives
- Develop a teaching plan
- Identify in advance every slide that is going to be used, in which order
- Know which questions are going to be asked of the group at which point
- Otherwise establish a fixed methodology or flow for the session
I know these people are doing their job, and that many of them are highly trained in “adult learning.” I also clearly see the need to capture the content, the process and the flow when a company or firm is trying to roll out a program which is going to be delivered many times in different locations.
I just find it hard to slot my delivery style into such a structured, planned approach.
I’m prepared to be accountable for achieving goals when making presentations: I just hate being locked in specifying in advance exactly what’s going to be said, in what order. I never know that until the (interactive) performance begins.
I can also work with “planners” to help THEM develop programs that can be given (by others) multiple times.
But when the stage lights go up and the curtain rises, it’s a performance! With all the strengths and uncertainties that are implied by that word.
By the way, this doesn’t only apply to formal seminars. For me, it applies to all client meetings: I prepare, but I stop way short of preparing a fixed, formal presentation. Even there, I take the performing approach, rather than the (structured – ‘who’s going to say what when?’) planned approach.
Does anyone have experience or insight as to how to capture the benefits of both approaches?
Tim Khaner said:
Interesting topic for me, David. I spent 30 years as a professional “performer’ – a classical musician. Some of the keys to a great performance is that it must seem spontaneous and and reactive to the audience – but the ability to pull that off really comes from thorough preparation and planning. When a performer is not entirely comfortable with the material, it’s hard to be spontaneous and not simply seem unprepared. But good planning leaves one the option of varying the intended performance without losing the essential train of thought. So I don’t think your options of “planner OR performer” are sufficient to explain the dynamic. You are able to appear to free-wheel only because you really know your stuff and are keeping track of the big picture as you go. You have done all the planning – perhaps in a less structured way, over many years.
posted on April 12, 2007