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Presentation Secrets: Do What you Never Thought Possible With Your Presentations by Alexei Kapterev

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ENGAGING WITH YOUR AUDIENCE

It was 10 a.m. on Saturday in Nakhabino, Moscow Oblast. I was booked for a private conference to deliver my standard one-hour talk about presentations. (Even though I did some research on the audience, you never know who you're going to face until you actually face them.) So, who was my audience now? I looked at the audience and I saw about 50 people of different regions from all over Russia, mostly men and mostly wearing business attire. Let me restate this: it was a Saturday morning at a country club and people were wearing suits and ties. This meant that I was doomed. This was not my audience.

They were the President's Program Alumni. The first Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, founded the program in 1997 with the goal to educate (or rather, to establish a then nonexistent class of) young Russian managers. Here I was 13 years later. Most of them were now in their late 30s and 40s, small business owners and executives and from regions far poorer than Moscow. Presentations? Storytelling? Slide design? They had other things to worry about. Like children and mortgages. They certainly knew much more about “real life” than I did—who was I to teach them? My typical audience was much more relaxed and hip. To make matters even worse, I was unable to position my laptop so I could see my next slide. The screen was very small, the projector was bleak, the cables didn't quite fit my laptop, and my slides looked greenish.

I introduced myself and included a Twitter ...

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