(originally posted on Jelson Estrella Capilos’ old blog on June 12, 2011)
Last May 28, Hya and I attended a parents’ orientation at the school where we enrolled Stacey. Save for the heavy rains, everything went well that day; we learned a lot about the school, its methods, and facilities, we got to know more about the qualifications of the teachers, and we were amused with the teachers’ revelations about Stacey when she attended summer class: they fondly remember her for always adding “ting!”, complete with a raised forefinger, whenever she was enumerating her to-do list (“I will brush my teeth, *ting!*, then wash my brush and cup, *ting!*, and pack away my things. *ting!*”), no thanks to Dora and yours truly.
After the first part of the program, we were separated into groups based on the year level of our children. Hya and I went to the 2s and 3s orientation.
Prior to the teacher’s part of the program, she asked us (a classic yet still relevant technique to get everyone involved) to introduce ourselves to the group, what we do for a living, and what we love doing with our kids. Given the instructions, we did exactly what we were asked to do: mention our names, our jobs, and what our favorite activity with Stacey is.
The instructions were so simple to understand and follow, right?
Unfortunately, this was not the case to most of the parents present. Almost everyone gave more than what was asked; one narrated how happy she was for having a biological child, when for most of her life what she did was rear adopted children; another proudly declared how her son can draw and color correctly at age two; a mom confessed that she enrolled her child as a way of getting some quiet time at home; another shared the fact that her son is more into Barbie than action figures!
It was Dale Carnegie who said that “people love to be listened to than to listen.” This reminder puts more responsibility on the speaker or presenter. S/he is given an opportunity to speak before an audience, something that not everyone can have, can do, or is entitled to, so s/he better make sure that what s/he has to say is important.
How does one determine what’s important?
John Maxwell said it best when he said that “everyone communicates; few connect.” Connection is established through effective communication, and effectivity here is only possible when what is provided meets or exceeds (take note, however, that the abovementioned examples are exempt from this) what is needed. This is where purpose comes into the picture. One needs to have a clear purpose for the presentation.
It is the dream that impels action, the blueprint of a building, the compass of the traveler.
In other words, it gives direction and framework to the presentation. Without it, any presentation would seem nothing more than the rantings of a madman, or a verbalized stream of consciousness.
Before starting an actual presentation, one must make sure that there’s a clear purpose behind it. In the abovementioned situation, the teacher provided the outline of what was needed, and we, as parents and presenters, should have been guided by it.
The nature of the presentation is a good way of determining the purpose. We were asked to provide information about ourselves and our kids; everyone should have stuck to it, and should have gone straight to the point. It would have been a different matter if we were asked to deliver, say, an inspirational speech, or to engage in a debate with another party. The nature determines what needs to be shared, and how to share it.
In today’s “instant” world, where a lot of stimuli compete for people’s attention and focus, and messages get drowned in a torrent of status updates, wall posts, tags and tweets, this “P” of presentations is a must, for a presenter to be heard in the midst of the noise, and for the message to stick.
The purpose needs to be present in any presentation, so as not to exhaust a vital resource in short supply nowadays: the audience’s p, patience.
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