You can learn plenty by eavesdropping at Starbucks.
I am not conspicuously listening, yet I’ll ‘hear things’ as I read the paper (yes, I still do that…) or people watch.
- I’ve listened in on girlfriend problems.
- I’ve heard Mom complaining about her boisterous children.
- I’ve watched a nervous, fresh college graduate try to convince an employer that she’s the one for the job.
The most revealing ‘listening experience’, however, just happened a few weeks ago in my local coffeehouse.
Near my table, two women huddled around a laptop and joyously built a presentation for an upcoming meeting. As they rattled away on the keyboard, they appeared giddy with the masterpiece that was coming to life on screen.
These ladies sometimes struggled to find the right words on each slide; there were zero images or pictures. Some slides appeared to have 5 lines of text with about 50 characters per line. They browsed the thesaurus to look for power words without hesitation. I said a little prayer for the audience that would have to sit through this long-form, extended dissertation. This unsuspecting audience would need an eye-check after this PowerPoint textual barrage.
I should have stopped these good-intentioned young ladies in their tracks by asking two vital questions:
1. What is it that you are trying to say?
2. What will everyone remember when it’s over?
When designing presentations, remember:
- It’s not about you; it’s about the audience.
- Your audience will remember very little from your presentation.
- Make a few key points and make them resonate.
Excuse me, but I have to relocate tables at this Starbucks; I think I hear a father talking to his son about choosing a college. This is going to be good.
Read about a few more unique encounters from this establishment:
—How can a tap dancing girl at Starbucks give you an edge?
—Your life will continue even if Starbucks is out of Cranberry muffins
Until next time,