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The 7 Secrets of Inspiring Presenters
By: Gabrielle Dolan, One Thousand and One
There are lots of ‘okay’ and ‘good’ presenters but how many times do you see an ‘inspiring’ presenter? This doesn’t mean inspiring audiences to jump up in the air and pump their fists, we mean authentic presenters who inspire their audience to act.
Secret #1 – is the mindset inspiring presenters bring to every presentation, every time. Inspiring presenters do not see presenting as a chore or an annoying add-on to their real job. They see every presentation as an opportunity to sell their personal image and to sell their company. They understand that every time they present, people make judgements on their leadership abilities. Thus, they embrace every presenting opportunity as an opportunity to increase their leadership presence and their personal brand. They understand the tremendous opportunity presenting supplies them and therefore invest a lot of time in excelling in it.
Secret #2 – inspiring presenters are very clear on the purpose of their presentation and have prioritised their key messages to no more than three. They understand that if you have more than three key messages then the likelihood is that people will remember none of them.
Secret #3 – they fully consider their audience: who they are, what they are likely be thinking, what their concerns are. When considering their audience they also consider the context of the presentation: will people be standing, will drinks or food be served, will it be compulsory to attend, what time of day is it? The inspiring presenter walks in the audience’s shoes every time, to set the presentation up for success.
For example, a 7:30 am breakfast presentation where the CEO of Carmen’s Muesli, Carolyn Creswell was presenting. Like all early morning events, most people think “this better be worth the extra early morning”. As Creswell came to the stage the first thing she said was, “When the alarm went off this morning I thought, this breakfast seminar better be good. And then I thought, sh** I better be good!” The audience laughed and connected with her straight away.
Secret #4 – they understand the various modes of delivery to get their message across. Modes can be as simple as asking a question, or getting the audience to work in pairs. Variety is the key here. They also understand why you would use each mode of delivery and what you need to take into account for each mode.
For example, they know that using a story requires a lot of preparation to ensure it will achieve its desired result. They also know that you would use a story when you want people to fully understand, remember and care about your message. They know that some modes come with a certain amount of risk but the risk is worth the return. People walk away inspired.
Secret #5 – inspiring presenters understand people need to connect with them first, before they can connect to their message. They understand how this connection and trust can be fast tracked by an appropriate personal story or sometimes just by some appropriate humour, similar to what Carolyn Creswell did as noted in secret number 3.
Secret #6 – if they have to use PowerPoint or any other presentation software, they know how to do it properly. Any presentation software is an ancillary, a support act to the presenter and the audience.
Secret #7 – inspiring presenters practice, practice and practice some more. But, they practice in their own style so they remain true to who they are. The end result is always an authentic presentation. If you were in business in the nineties you probably attended far too many presentation workshops that focused on delivery: “Stand here, use the stage, make eye contact”. This cookie cutter approach produced a generation of business people presenting in the same way with little focus on their own style and the content.
The challenge for leaders today, is to not just present information, but rather to inspire people into action. So, using these seven secrets, take on the challenge and unleash the inspiring presenter within you.