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What You Can Learn About Presenting From A Samburu Warrior

For my part, this year I’m pushing myself to take more communication risks and become a better global citizen. Sometimes these even overlap — as with my recent trip to Kenya. Besides seeing the spectacular animals pictured below in their own habitats, I met some amazing Samburu and Masai warriors, who were phenomenal guides.

Luaya, my guide in Ol Malo Lodge, took me on a five-mile walk through elephant and lion country. (We also had Samuel along and he carried a rifle.) During that walk, he taught me to tease a Baboon Spider out of its hole using a freshly stripped twig. He was patient, excited. And when, after several tries, a spider the size of my fist emerged (no this is not an exercise for arachnophobes), his delight and wonder were genuine.

It made me wonder how someone who does the same thing day in and day out with a different audience avoids becoming rote? Even if you love doing something, when you present the same information over and over, it’s easy to fall into a patter. But he didn’t. Instead he took us on a journey but stayed engaged as part of what unfolded.

As a presenter, when you’re really tied into an audience — aware of what they are doing and how they’re responding, AND you know where you want to take them with your information, it’s a fresh experience each time. Each audience is different, each circumstance different, and if I really care about my impact on them as it’s happening, about taking them somewhere with me — not downloading information — I create opportunity to be part of something new.

How many times have you sat through a demonstration and felt like it was pitch?

How do you make your standard stump speech a moment of discovery and fresh each time? Instead of downloading information, think of it as a journey where you’re the ambassador to a new country — your company. Think about the larger ahas and smaller details to point out along the way.

Ask yourself what you want someone to feel after hearing this information. Inspired? Confident? Curious? Motivated to take a specific action?

Then think about what state they’re starting in and what they need to see and hear from you to get them there.

Our guide wanted us to feel wonder and curiosity, so he asked a lot of questions. Where can you show something new or ask a question to make people think? Give them specific actions. Luaya invited us to take his stick and place it down the spider hole, then wiggle it to attract attention. If you want someone to try a product, or read further, you need to tell them exactly what to do to get to the end result. My call to action is for you to evaluate your 2018 presentations with a fresh eye and see where you can strengthen the connection like a true Samburu guide.

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