When it comes to presenting, I’m often asked the same question time and time again: “Isn’t it true that the really great presenters are just born with the ability to speak beautifully?”
I’m sure you can guess my response.
The answer is always “no.”
How many astronauts, surgeons, or nuclear physicists were born that way?
Without exception, everyone has to learn their craft. It takes time, commitment, and an overriding belief that it’s possible.
In short, I believe that, just like any other skill, you only need to be able to answer YES to two questions:
Am I able? In other words, is it humanly possible for someone like you to achieve such a goal?
Am I willing? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to get there?
The following pointers will set you nicely on your way.
1. Make friends.
Regardless of your credentials, ideas, or the extensive research you may have done, if your audience doesn’t like you, they simply won’t connect with you or your message. It sounds harsh, but it’s true.
Exceptional speakers know that their first priority is to make friends with their audience.
How do you do that?
2. Use emotive language.
- Make eye contact
- Put yourself in their shoes
- Show them the real you
- Tell them stories
- Make it about them, not you
Most of us don’t need to read the wealth of available research to understand and believe what we’ve been told by neuroscientists for years, which is that most of the decisions we make are emotional, not logical.
We know it instinctively.
As you craft your presentation in the knowledge that people really do buy people first on an emotional level, there’s plenty you can do to make the connection.
- Paint pictures with your words. “This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.” –Martin Luther King
- Make them smile. Unless you are making people redundant or giving a eulogy, most presentations could benefit from a little humor.
- Use metaphors that people can relate to. Bring your message to life. “Here are the title deeds of freedom which should lie in every cottage home.” –Winston Churchill
3. Give them something to remember.
It’s a given that every presenter wants to ensure that their message is clear and completely understood. Exceptional presenters want to be remembered.
Great speakers and presenters aren’t born that way. They make themselves that way, and it’s within everyone’s gift. We believe everyone is able. The only question that remains is: Are you willing?
- Get your audience involved; make it interactive
- Dare to be different; open with impact and make them curious
- Use stunning, compelling, and relevant visuals; kill the bullet points
- Make it thought-provoking
- Make it personal…to them
Maurice De Castro is a former corporate executive of some of the UK’s best loved brands. Maurice believes that the route to success in any organisation lies squarely in its ability to really connect with people. That’s why he left the boardroom to create a business helping leaders to do exactly that. Learn more at www.mindfulpresenter.com
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