Today, another blog from alumni Jonny Hick (see here for last week’s) but a different theme entirely; National Competition. In this guest blog Jonny – an alumni and competition judge – he discusses what makes a great presentation and the importance of using your National Competition presentation after Nationals.
Clarity is King – A Judge’s Perspective
You don’t get credit for what you say. You don’t get credit for how you say it. You get credit for what the judges remember you said.
I wish someone had told me this when I was an Enactus student. Clarity is king. Structure and signposting are the only way to do it. Having been a judge for last 5 years, it is so interesting what you don’t pick up on. A great example is that last year I was judging Enactus Southampton in the semi-final round. Yet the impression I had of them in semi’s was very different from that I had by time I watched them present a second time in the final – because I had had 2 bites at the cherry, I had heard it twice, understood it better and actually took in far more. In no way is that a criticism of our national championship team, it’s simply a statement of fact- the more you see something, the more you understand it/get it. That’s the case for any presentation no matter how well written.
But your judges get one crack at it. And they have probably seen 2/3 teams before you, their blackberry is going mad because they are out the office and the judge next to them keeps sniffing and coughing. They aren’t 100% focused for every single second of your presentation. Come on – are you 100% focused for every single second of your lectures? Can you remember every single point 10mins later? Let alone 2/3 hours later after seeing 3 or 4 other teams , as the teams who present first have to deal with.
If you have 10 results for a project that you are proud of, only present 3 or 4, explain them clearly and emphasize them and put rest in the annual report. Don’t present 10 or they will remember none of them.
Signposting is key e.g. “we had a three stage empowerment plan” or “the impact on our beneficiaries was three fold”. That means as I judge I know I need to write down 3 things. And if I haven’t got them all – I’m going to proactively hunt in the annual report/ask the guy next to me/ ask you what they are. Because I know I’ve missed something. Hold their hand through the presentation – using both script and also slides to help them understand where in the presentation they are.
One last time- you get credit NOT for what you say, but what the judges remember you said. Say less, say it clearer. (Note the irony on this blog!)
A Presentation Isn’t Just For Nationals
Maximise your presentation value. Over 90% of teams reach the climax at National Competition, presenting a slick and clear account of everything they have done this year. It gets shown once/twice or three times depending on competition progress. And then gets stored on someone’s hard drive and never sees the light of day again.
This is ridiculous. This is your ULTIMATE sales tool. NOTHING you do will ever capture what you do better than your Nationals presentation. So why on earth don’t more teams show it to anyone who will listen. Every student not in Enactus at your university should see it. Every lecturer, every Dean of School, the Vice-Chancellor, any prospective business advisors, potential project partners – frankly anyone with a pulse and a pair of eyes & ears should see this. There is nothing more powerful than your Nationals presentation. You spend 2 months preparing it. And after 2 days of showing it, most people throw it away. Its heart breaking- some of teams I work with comeback having got to the final of comp for first time ever, a once in a generation breakthrough for their team. And they don’t capitalise on it.
What good teams do – They have booked a schedule of follow up presentations in the week before/after Nationals to showcase it to everyone. They have booked out lecture theatres, publicised events. They have a got week of going round to all and sundry and showing their finished article (no- showing them a draft Nationals presentation a month before comp doesn’t count, although a final version a few days before Nationals is obviously fine).