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

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DON'T AVOID CONFRONTATION

After doing a workshop, I am always happy if somebody in the audience was objecting. I would love to say that I become happy the moment someone objects, but I can't because this would be a lie. In fact, I'm quite scared when people start to object. However, when the workshop is over, I am inevitably happy that it turned out that way. And so is the audience. This is very much like in storytelling: confrontation makes things interesting. Discussion is much more engaging than a monologue. For longer talks, I actually set it as a goal to myself: I have to provoke somebody in the first 10 minutes of the speech. Otherwise, it will be boring.

NOTE Experienced performers can handle a very high level of aggression and get tremendous effects. George Carlin was one of those comic geniuses able to deliver routines called simply “the list of people who ought to be killed” and get standing ovations in the end. “Yes, so was Hitler,” I hear you saying, but unlike Hitler's fans, Carlin's fans never started a world war.

It is true that most speakers tend to avoid confrontation and for good reasons. One of the problems of our civilization (at least from a presentation perspective) is that we've spent centuries trying to minimize conflicts and are still far from succeeding. We know that people get hurt in conflicts. So, when you're presenting alone, and the audience is large, you don't feel like challenging them because of this instinct you have to minimize conflict. But ...

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