If you’re bored, then imagine how bored everyone else is…
“Steve, seriously, there’s no way I can make this topic interesting to deliver, believe me…”
I don’t believe it. Sorry. It’s not that you’re being dishonest. It’s that you’ve forgotten the reason you’re delivering technical information to others at work.
Let’s be clear about this, very few people deliver technical information to others at work just for fun. Otherwise ‘work’ would be called ‘fun’ (e.g. “goodbye darling, I’m off to fun now, see you later this evening”). They do it because the business needs them to, right? It follows that if they find a way to deliver the said information in a business-focused way, fun (specifically, having fun) will be a chirpy bi-product. And fun radiates – it’s infectious (in a good way). If you’re having fun, others have fun. If others have fun, they listen and learn more. And they remember YOU.
The problem is, ‘experts’ often get preoccupied with their feelings around certain information (i.e. this stuff is boring to everyone else) rather than assessing the information with an objective lens (i.e. how will this information benefit others). It’s not about you, it’s about the (1) others and (2) the business.
So, what’s the ‘right way’ to deliver technical information to others? The answer is slightly irritating. Initially, it’s not about ‘delivery’. It’s about empathy, planning and preparation. Ahem, that’s obvious! But is it? It might sound common sense but it’s often not common practice. Everyone’s busy and time-poor. It’s much easier to simply fire up PowerPoint and tap away, right? It’s easier but it’s just not right.
The crucial first step involves you putting to one side your experience of the information and taking the time (just a few minutes if that's all you can spare) to consider totally the people to whom you need to communicate this information and the environment in which they work. Shine the torch on them, not on yourself…
Sorting your head out before you ‘present’ the information is vital. It’ll also save you lots of time down the line and increase your impact ‘on your feet’. Rather than bore you with theory, let’s look at the practical steps you might take to order your thought process before designing a talk.
Take a piece of paper and write your answers to the following (it won’t take more than 8-10 minutes):
Why is this information needed by the business/others in the business? (information credibility)
Why has someone asked you to deliver it, now? (expert credibility)
How will the business benefit from this information in a real, ‘back-at-your-desk’, way? (outcome credibility)
What has happened recently that shows how important this information is to this business and to your audience? (story/real-life credibility)
Answer these questions and, hey presto, you’ve managed to frame context (1), affirm your ‘right’ to deliver this information (2), define your ‘learning’ and/or ‘skills development’ outcomes (3) and link your information to real life, creating connection and rapport with your ‘learners’ (4).
Now all you’ve got to do is prepare, practise and enjoy.