Last Wednesday Jon and I were invited to be guest lecturers at Colorado State University’s Professional Communication class. We were asked to speak about what we thought was important to know about the professional world, what we wished we knew, any mistakes we made and anything that surprised us about the professional world.
Before we delved into our biographical histories (which are quite varied and filled with interesting and weird digressions), we first looked at the syllabus sent to us by the instructor, who was an old friend of ours from graduate school, and we noted that the day’s lecture topic was professional presentations. Having an entire blog series about the topic (the next one goes up this week!), we thought it prudent to share our insights to the class about professional presentations.
We considered going up there and winging it – I mean, we’re professionals, we’re busy enough as it is, and these are college kids, how would they even know the difference? – but we quickly came to our senses and put together a PowerPoint and an outline of talking points. This became a lesson unto itself.
One of the best things you can do when you approach a presentation – any presentation – is to prepare for it. Treat every opportunity no matter the audience, how big, how small, above you in the corporate hierarchy or below, with the same careful consideration, and you’ll generally acquit yourself well. We need to practice what we preach, and that’s why we treated this audience of college kids with the same level of importance as we would a potential client.
Did we reach them? Who knows. College kids are notoriously hard to read in a classroom setting, but the important thing is that the trick to giving good professional presentations is the same trick to succeeding at pretty much everything else.
Work hard, prepare as much as possible, and give your best effort no matter the circumstances. Show up for your audience. Show up for your clients. Show up for yourself.
Interested in having us speak to your college class? Get in touch with us through the Contact Form on our website. We’re happy to talk about anything communications related you’d like. Just click that link.