We all know presenting in public is for many the number one fear above death. It is also one of the most desired skills professionals look to acquire in their list of competencies.
We’ve seen the Ted Talks and sometimes the pressure and anxiety of living up to the expectations kicks in whenever we're asked to present.
All those presenters we know have great presence, precise gestures, vocal variety and stories to keep you enthralled.
Sounds just like what I do every day :)
Is this the model of a great presenter or is there more?
I haven’t always been a confident person when communicating and presenting in public. But like many I had a very specific view of what a great presenter looked and sounded like after being exposed to the business world.
It was not that long ago my perception of what makes a great presenter shifted.
Don’t get me wrong there are definitely clear principles that work and should be desired. Such as considering your pace, structure, clarity, diction etc…
I want to introduce you to a guy name Theo who I heard speak at a networking in 2014.
He was an early stage entrepreneur, hair drawn down to his chin, rusty beard and a coarse smokers voice. He was speaking on the topic of what it meant to live on purpose.
As he began to speak it was clear he knew his topic, he was open and vulnerable in his story, spoke with conviction in his message, but he didn’t fit that presenter mould.
You could see the wandering eyes in the audience asking...
Where are the eloquent words? Memorable acronyms? Precise hand movements to illustrate past and present? Where was the vocal variety to keep us all engaged?
The fact was, very little of those things existed in Theo’s presentation.
Despite this the audience rose as he finished, applauded as he went back to his seat and Theo was met with a flurry of people wanting to know more of his story after the event.
This experience wouldn’t make sense in our business world where our presentations mean cash, reputation and more. We can’t afford to mess up. Right?
The fact is we’re all right. Theo’s presentation was right for then and ours will be right for ours.
What I’ve found to be true in all presentations that have moved me and have engaged millions are these three things:
· Authenticity – Showing up as yourself and being willing to be vulnerable.
· Conviction and clarity – The ability to ensure your message is felt and filtered from anything that might confuse or prevent your audience from understanding it fully.
· A human story – sharing something relevant that brings your message together with a relatable connection.
None of these are easy to master. Being authentic and vulnerable is not something we intentionally practise or talk about in business. But, when all these are aligned, in my mind you stir a recipe for stronger connection, deeper engagement and more business than you can count. Just ask Theo a practicing imperfect presenter.
Are you an imperfect presenter?
Founder of the Key Account Hack System - New Key Account thinking that transforms customer relationships and creates predictable sales growth.