When it was time for Harry to return to his second year at Hogwarts, he set off to Kings Cross Station to catch the Hogwarts' Express train. After asking about for directions, he was told that the train was leaving from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters and the only way to get there was to pass through the solid brick wall between Platforms Nine and Ten. His initial reaction was despair that this brick wall was standing between him and his wizard studies. But luckily for Harry, he got some very wise advice from Mrs. Weasley:
All you have to do is walk straight at the barrier between Platforms 9 and 10...
Best do it at a bit of a run if you're nervous.Book One, Page 93
And because he believed he could, he did.
In presentations, there are many "brick walls" that we allow to create a barrier between us and the audience. It may be lack of preparation, lack of confidence, over-reliance on PowerPoint slides, boring material, not enough subject matter expertise to answer questions, nerves or a hundred other things. Your barrier may be different from my barrier. Whatever it is, it consumes our energy and takes our focus away from the most important element in our presentation...our audience.
So what can we learn from a boy wizard about delivering business presentations?
- Believe in your ability to accomplish what you need to.
- Visualize a successful presentation by imagining, in significant detail, each element of your delivery.
- Refuse to let brick walls stand in the way of your success.
When you're feeling apprehensive about the challenges of your next presentation, remember the metaphor of Platform Nine and Three-Quarters and help yourself to a bit of Hogwarts' wizardry.