Call an audible during your presentation
One thing he does better than any other quarterback is change the play at the line of scrimmage based on what he sees the defence doing. Often, he will line up, call some signals and see how the defence reacts. Then he steps back, decides what changes he wants to make, and runs the play. In football, changing the play at the line of scrimmage is known as calling an audible, meaning the play is changed using an audible signal, not with gestures.
Now this only works because his team has prepared in advance for what he will do. They know the different plays he may end up calling and are prepared for the many possibilities. They adjust based on what the opponent is doing. So how does this relate to presenting?
The lesson for presenters is to be prepared to call an audible during your next presentation based on the reaction of the audience. Start with your prepared presentation, but if the audience is not reacting the way you expect them to, be prepared to step back and change what you are doing. How can you do this? Here are three ways to call an audible during a presentation.
First, you can anticipate this happening and plan for this in advance by designing a non-linear presentation. Design in modules and ask the audience to direct the sequence of the presentation. Second, when you realize the audience is not reacting the way they should, press the “B” key on your keyboard to blank the screen. Ask a question of the audience to start a discussion. By engaging them, you will discover what they are thinking and be able to adjust as necessary. Finally, know the slide numbers of the start of each major section of your presentation. If you need to jump to another section to address a concern, simply type in the slide number using your keyboard and press the Enter key. Your presentation will seamlessly jump to that section so you can address the issue with prepared material.
For those of you looking for an excuse to watch the Super Bowl on February 7th, say you are watching it to improve your presentations. I’ll be trying that excuse with my family. Let me know if it works for you :)