Tyler worked in Tech.
As a salesperson, he was as committed to his customer as to the products he sold.
He was also, as the saying goes, the one who could "talk past the end of the sale.” The customer might say on slide three, “I like it! When can we start?” but Tyler would feel the urge to continue, so enthralled by his product that he couldn't help but keep explaining it — even after the customer had already decided to buy it.
Tyler would keep going and going.
On slide 13, the customer would ask again: “I like it. How do we start?” But Tyler would keep going. The answer to ‘how do we start?’ was on slide 39. In Tyler’s mind, rather than skip to slide 39, it was important to step there logically.
One day, during a sales pitch, Tyler’s boss suddenly stepped in and took over the presentation mid-way through.
Later, Tyler asked, 'Why did you do that?' His boss explained, “because five minutes in the customer was ready to buy, and five minutes later she was bored to tears — you have to work off their rhythm.”
The “Teacher” is one of six presenter types, including Storyteller, Coach, Counselor, Inventor, and Producer.
Teachers use the sequence, Structure, Words, Pictures as the building blocks for their presentations.
Teachers rely on structure to build a narrative and thread their words around that content.
If you're a Teacher, you can take even the most complex information and make it come alive. The ability to bring structure means the audience can always see a clear flow through a presentation's content.
Command of words and language brings that flow to life with figures of speech and metaphors. Teachers can also hold long talk tracks in their heads. Which means they can faithfully replicate the same presentation over and over.
In both the physical and virtual worlds, Teachers have many advantages.
The firmness with which they retain content means they're rarely thrown off-course by anything unexpected. Teachers can easily handle the tech glitches that would trouble others. A Teacher can stick to their talk track no matter what. And that talk track, with its logic and clarity, helps audiences follow the message.
Teachers will feel as at home in remote environments as they do in face-to-face ones.
Here’s the problem:
You may be comfortable with audiences that are remote, but remote audiences may not be comfortable with you.
Your biggest challenge — you pay more attention to your content than to the audience. You don't help that audience to feel a part of the story and picture themselves in the message. Remote environments amplify this problem. You can be more technical than engaging.
Apparent coolness as a presenter means that while the audience buys into your content, they are less likely to buy into you.
You need to keep finding ways to connect with your audience and have them connect to you.
Because Teachers are comfortable with complex visuals, what is simple for them to understand, is not for the audience. That same seemingly simple chart looks to the audience like a wiring diagram — difficult to grasp.
Overly complex slides make your content less accessible. Visuals that are theoretical or conceptual block the audience from connecting or engaging. Prioritizing material over interaction and engagement creates distance, making it hard for the audience to connect with you.
For a Teacher and their audience, context is crucial. Make sure the audience understands the how and the why before getting buried in the what.
Anything you, and your deck, can do to build a bridge to your audience will pay dividends.
Make your slides more comprehensible by editing and tailoring for the audience. Use builds and animations to provide movement. Explore tools such as chat and polling for extra interaction. Questions build connections — and they are well worth planning with the same care you plan your slides.
Make your connection as strong as your content, and as a Teacher, you have ample skills to thrive as a presenter — either face-to-face or remote.
¹ John Henrik Clarke was an American historian, professor, and pioneer in the creation of Pan-African and Africana studies and professional institutions in academia starting in the late 1960s