I used to tour as the technical director of a dance company. Don’t get excited – it’s not as glamorous as it sounds. It means I was responsible for the lights, sound, video and dancefloor and often didn’t see daylight for a days at a time. There are cities I’ve been in that I don’t know what they look like.
But I watched them work. And work. And rest. And work again and again and again until it was just right.
Then I watched them perform for an audience who didn’t care.
No, really, they didn’t.
Unless you were a personal friend of one of the dancers and knew how close to breaking themselves they were, you just didn’t care. Tough be true. The audience wasn’t there for the dancers – they were their for the dance. They wanted to watch dance, enjoy dance and even learn from the dance… but they didn’t care about the dancers.
They didn’t care about the hours in the gym. The years training. The weeks rehearsing. The days creating. They didn’t care about the lack of sleep, rest or social life. They didn’t care that some of the most dedicated athlete’s I’ve ever seen were just one bad landing away from a career-ending moment.
The audience jus cared about one thing. What’s in it for me?
And quite right. No professional dancer would have it any other way. As the Company Manager once said: if it looks like you’re working hard, you’re not working hard enough.
And so it should be for presenters? Maybe…. ;)
No one cares about the years you’ve spent becoming an expert; or about the days you’ve spent putting the slides together; or the hours rehearsing. The audience are there just for one thing – they’re thinking “What’s in it for me?”.
Do don’t expect anyone to praise you for your presentation, or to thank you. If they notice how good your presentation was, it wasn’t good enough.