Worth a Thousand Words

From: Daniel

Subject: Great ws

“Lukas, great presentation on the DCP yesterday. The best thing for me was the photo with your club’s officer team preparing the Club Success Plan.”

“The photo, really?” I thought. “Interesting…”

On Saturday, I was speaking to the newly elected Toastmasters Club Officers from various clubs in the Czech Republic and Slovakia who met for a full-day training. The topic was planning and using club performance metrics. In volunteering organizations something treated with suspicion as quite abstract and very corporate.

The photo got into the presentation by chance. I was looking for the Club Success Plan manual on my computer – but these three keywords found just a forgotten jpeg showing my 4 colleagues sharing a KFC bucket. “Why not add it to the presentation. A pleasant distraction for the audience”, I told myself when putting final touches to my PowerPoint.

This morning, with my mind fresh and clear, I felt I got what Daniel meant. “Thanks for the feedback. I would not expect the photo to be the main takeaway – but I take it that it’s useful to have a proof in a presentation that I practice what I preach”, I responded.

I got it wrong. “Rather”, says an email that arrives a few minutes later, “a visualization of what it was you wanted the audience to do.”

A visualization of what it was I wanted my audience to do. In my mind, I went through my Saturday’s presentation again. My history in Toastmasters. My changing perspective on the use of the official metrics. An analogy of planning for a Sunday bike trip. Holding up a mirror to the club officers present in the training by showing who of them belonged to clubs that were doing well and who of them to ones that – not so.

But what it was I wanted my audience to do?

I wanted them to take some time off. Meet in a comfortable place. To talk. About ideas, plans and goals. About how to focus their efforts so that they get the most out of their new roles. About how to succeed together.

But what should it look like?

Like this:

Club Success Plan.jpg

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Phrase I heard a million times before, but I needed a stroke of luck and a short email from a friend to realize its meaning. Better late than never.

The next time I will be preparing a presentation or a workshop, I’ll ask myself one more question:

What is it you want your audience to do? How can you best show them?



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