Getting in early


If you want to make a good impression, whether it's at a meeting, an interview, or for a presentation, there's no substitute for getting in early. So writes Communications Consultant Simon Hall...

If little things please little minds, I don't want to think about the dimensions of my brain. 

Because something very small happened this week, but it brought me a great deal of pleasure. 

This is it - 

Two people, in a lecture theatre, writing away... well, I did tell you it was a little thing. 

But the reason I was happy is that they were practising a trick I think is both brilliant and invaluable. 

To explain, I'll step back a few hours from when this photo was taken. 

I was lecturing at Cambridge Judge Business School on Telling and Selling Your Story, to help some of our start-up companies put together top-quality presentations to woo customers and investors. 

There were all the usual elements you might expect in the talk. Openings, endings, narrative flow etc...

But when I talked about getting ready for your pitch, I mentioned something which clearly struck home. 

You'll be nervous, I told them, naturally. But to help calm that, to make sure you perform at your peak...

Get to the room where you'll be presenting early. Get a real feel of it.

Check how far you have to project your voice. Work out where you're going to stand to dominate the room, and be able to make eye contact with everyone in the audience. 

It was just a very small part of the lecture, that element. Only a few seconds' worth of my chatterings. I thought no more of it. 

Lunchtime came, we all went off to get some food, and were due to reconvene at two, in one of the main lecture theatres, to practise the presentations. 

I was hosting the session, so I got there early to make sure I was happy with the set up (see - I do practise what I preach in these musings.)

Into the room I walked, and found the two chaps above, busily doing exactly what I had suggested. 

Even better, in the next five minutes, three more people arrived to do likewise. 

A small thing, yes, but it made me happy. Because I thought I had done a little something to help these excellent entrepreneurs who I'm lucky enough to work with. 

And did it make a difference, my getting in early tip? 

You bet it did. There were some absolutely excellent presentations. Which made me even happier. 

It's true that little things may please little minds. But little things can also mean a lot.

Simon Hall Communications

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