We’d stand looking at the tackle box and my father would ask…”What is your preferred hook?
I grew up on one of the 10,000 lakes in Minnesota. My father was a fisherman. I learned to fish with him and at times enjoyed it and other times wanted nothing to do with touching fish or bait. Yet, there was something wonderful about going to a fishing store and picking out the right fishing lure. My dad would go up to the counter…”what lure are the fish biting on this season?” We’d learn about purple and pink color combinations working and lures with a lip that made the lure dive deep. After our evaluation of the best hook, we’d head to the dock to cast our shiny new lure full of color and tassels hoping a big bass would pay attention to it. Knowing what hook to use was key to catching the fish….A Daredevil for northern pike, A Mepps Spinner for crappies, and so on. My dad would ask me as we opened the tackle box…”What is your preferred hook Polly?”
For many of us, knowing what “hook” to use is a key part of landing a great pitch or presentation. What is your preferred Hook?
Many people learn to give presentations by trial and error. After a few errors, they might ask for guidance or tips. Some people turn to Ted Talks to learn techniques. And, the trial and error approach continues. Yet, landing a presentation or pitch is really like buying a lure. You have to know the right shape, color, and goal. The key to picking the right hook is your strengths.
I recently listened to a presenter who’s greatest strengths were relationship building. She was a leader known for her ability to connect with others, build relationships, empower others through stories and empathy and strategically guide a team to achieve goals. During this presentation she did not use any of her relationship building strengths. Needless to say, the presentation landed rather flat. We debriefed her presentation and when I asked her how she had prepared, she shared how she focused on the tasks and goals. I asked her “was building a relationship with the audience one of the tasks or goals?” She replied…”no I don’t want people to think I always focus on relationships.”
I’m the first to say there is room for all strengths in a presentation. And, if we do not integrate our dominant talents and strengths our talks will not land with their greatest outcomes.
Next time you have a presentation to prepare ask yourself these four questions:
- What strengths am I most known for?
- How can I integrate the use of those strengths into my presentation?
- How can I weave these strengths around the goals of my talk?
- How can I use my strengths to hook the audience into my pitch?
I asked my relationship building client to try her presentation a second time with another group. This time she shared a story about people, demonstrated her empathy, and influenced the audience to see how those relationships were so critical to the implementation of the tasks and goals. She held the audience in the palm of her hand and landed a memorable presentation.
My dad would have been proud of her. She picked the right hook and landed the talk! How can you use your strengths to land a better presentation?
ps. As a child I was known for casting lures off into the lake and not attaching them tightly. Off the lure would sail my lure into the deeps of the water. I’d stand there with a big “uh oh” face and the lure would be lost forever. I can’t tell you how many lures I lost and how many times a brother or father would be frustrated with me (understatement). And yet, at this point in life it’s a good reminder…sometimes you need to throw those old hooks out into the lake and lose them.