August 2015

Presentation Tip: Hold the Tissue

Crying Girl for Tissue Post

[Image from]

I recently attended a training series for work. The training centered around a new presentation that will be made standard across the company yet allows areas for personalized touches. I picked up quite a few tips on delivering effective presentations. (Not to mention picking up a few of the yummy cookies they had for dessert…I digress.) The tip I found most interesting was related to effectively delivering a presentation with an emotional message. Say for instance you’re giving a presentation and want to include a personal story that may get you a little choked up. The tip is to keep a bottle of water with you and take a drink when you begin to feel the emotion coming on. Now, according to the Learning and Development experts leading the training, you can’t cry and drink water at the same time. So the water serves as a barrier to the water works. I know, everyone wants to rush out and try it now. I wanted to myself after hearing the tip.

So I’ve never had an emotional moment during a formal presentation. Though I did have one during an informal presentation. (Currently biting my tongue to stop myself from laughing at…well..myself!) My family, close friends and I went out to lunch after my undergraduate graduation ceremony. It was a great day. Mexican food (fave!), a cake with my professional graduation picture on it (cheese) and party favors made by yours truly. Everything was going right that day. Until it came time for the thank you speeches. (sigh)

I gaved many general thank yous through the gathering but gave personalized thanks to specific people in the room. Particularly those who had financial investments in my education. Because well, who wants to shell out of their pockets and go unrecognized, right? One of the people I thanked was my dad. I remember starting the speech with jokes about him moving me into the dorms and other related college memories of having his support. Next thing I knew the rapture came over me (cue in dark clouds and thunder storms). I was so choked up my words became a blur. Ijustwanttosay (*snif*) thankyousomuch (*snif*) iloveyougoodbye (*snif, snif*). Now I’m sure my dad was flattered by my gratefulness and emotional appeal. But later I thought “dang…how much better would it have been had he understood what I was saying!”.

Moral of the story is, it is very easy to find yourself emotionally connected when discussing something personal or passion provoking. We’re all human. (Though in an informal presentation I’d like to think I won’t give the crying over the salsa while thanking dad speech.) But you want to make sure you get your message across effectively. Especially in the company of peers, colleagues or the like.

So if you find yourself getting sentimental in the middle of your board room speech or final exam presentation, grab that bottle of H2O and give it a swig! Please let me know if you do try the tip. I’m curious to know how well the theory stands.