As John and Gregg salivated over Liz’s pork belly with pistachio crumbed black pudding bonbon and roasted fennel with fig and apple puree (I know, you probably cook this most nights), it struck me that placing your plate of food on the MasterChef table is just like standing up to give a presentation.
At the point when you rise to your feet and head towards your audience, you’re also offering up something you’ve created; something you’re proud of; something personal to you.
And the same skills underpin success. Every brilliant dish is based on a great idea – an inspired combination of flavours, textures, ingredients. So too with a great presentation. The content must be engaging and relevant and, where possible, inspiring.
Then there’s the skill of the preparation – techniques for making sauces, seasoning, filleting, baking, opening tins (just joking). The great idea will fail if skill is lacking.
Similarly, your corporate audience will not ‘clear their plate’ if you don’t have the skill to structure and choreograph a presentation; to use language, rhetoric, quotations, visuals to make the content memorable and accessible.
And finally there’s the plating up. It’s at this point that many a clever, well executed dish incurs the wrath of the judges. The presentation of the food is the final piece of the jigsaw – it must shine, exude confidence and professionalism, and invite the audience in.
So should your ‘performance’ at the lectern/on stage/in the meeting. Your vocal delivery, posture, movement, pace and eye contact all need to work together to enhance your content and appeal to the audience without distracting or irritating them.
So the next time you sit down to prepare for an important piece of communication, remember what it is that wins MasterChef – a great idea, skilfully crafted and brilliantly presented.
No excess sauce on the edge of the plate please!