Why are some content experts terrible speakers?

Here’s a summary of my response to this discussion question posted in a recent Linked In group:

  • Content experts who automatically think they’d be great presenters or trainers are like airline passengers who automatically think they’d make great pilots or gifted athletes who think they’d make great coaches. Totally different skill sets and mind sets involved here.
  • Many content expert speakers I encounter as an executive presentation coach have an inherent ‘presenter-centric’ mentality. They’re the experts that the audience wants to learn from, so they’ll tell them everything the presenter knows or wants to tell them in the way the presenter wants to tell them as long as the presenter wants to talk. This mind set is often unconscious, but obvious to the audience.
  • I encourage them to become more obviously ‘audience-centric’ presenters and to discuss (not tell) with the audience what the audience needs and wants to hear in a way the audience needs and wants it shared for as long as the audience needs to accomplish their objectives. A profoundly different approach to presenting, for sure.
  • Some clients get it faster and better than others. Some still feel that they’re already successful experts, so why change. Tough sell, but I do indicate that they’ve become successful often in spite of how they present and not because of how they present.

So, if you’re a content expert who also does presentations or workshops, strive to be more audience-centric. Easy to say and hard to do I admit, but worth the time and effort.