Making a presentation: Energy and Passion!
Take a moment to think about the people sitting in the audience of a stock standard business presentation. Some of the audience members may have slept for just a few hours the previous night. Others may have jetlag and one or two may just be overworked and overtired. Or some might be thinking about the 200 emails awaiting their return to the office.
As much as we would all like to believe that the people in your audience when you are conducting a presentation are automatically programmed to take in every word you say, they are not. They have their own thoughts, priorities, conflicts, stresses, fears and goals.
First, you have to earn their attention and second you have to keep it. There are a number of ways to win and maintain their attention but your energy and passion as a speaker is one of the most important.
Your job is to push energy to your audience. This is easier said than done. After coaching many people who make presentations, I have learned that most people are bad judges of how much energy they project to an audience.
For example, I have seen countless presentations where the presenter stands at the lectern and says “Thank you very much. I am so excited to be here”. Most of the time, they say that line without any obvious excitement or interest. They are merely words or fillers.
They “say” they are happy to present to you, but their voice and body sends exactly the opposite message. When I have told my trainees they look flat and disinterested when they present, when we play back the video of their speech they always agree.
For the second take, I encourage the speakers to be more impassioned, to go “bigger” than they normally would. When we watch back the video of that take together they are usually pleasantly surprised by how good they looked. That same dynamic is true not only for the opening lines by for the whole presentation.
Therefore, when you give a presentation, focus on being the most energetic and passionate version of you. Think about catching up with an old friend at a BBQ. You are probably a little louder than usual, engaged and a lot more interesting. Try and emulate this feeling.
If you find this difficult, try speaking say 10-15 per cent louder than usual. Most people fear volume will make them come across too loudly, however for most people this works very well.
So, keep energy levels up, don’t hold back with the passion in your delivery and the audience will notice how much you care about your topic.