When you are asked to deliver a presentation, one way of looking at this request is that you are actually being asked to put on a one-person show. No matter if you are presenting at a college graduation or are simply reviewing last quarter’s sales figures, you are an actor who is there to put on a show for your audience. Do you know how to act?
Ed Brodow is a professional speaker who has also spent 12 years as a Hollywood actor. Needless to say, he know his stuff. He points out that the actors that we like to watch on the big screen or on TV were not born that way. They’ve studied their craft and that’s how they have become so good.
Brodow has worked with a number of acting coaches and he’s discovered the acting skills that speakers need to incorporate into our presentations in order to make them more memorable. No, you’re probably not going to win any Academy Awards for you next presentation; however, you might just do a better job of connecting with your audience.
Learn To Improvise: If you’ve delivered your presentation before or if you’ve spent the last month preparing for this presentation, then there is a chance that you are going to come across as “wooden” or “scripted”. Having the ability to improvise, or make it up as you go along, is the key to making your presentation fresh and making the audience feel as though you make it up just for them.
Stories That Are Personal: We’ve talked about this before, but what makes any presentation memoriable are your stories. Brodow reveals that the way an actor prepares for a scene with powerful emotions is to think back over their life and find a situation in which they were experiencing those emotions. They then substitute the scene that they are playing for their remembered scene and that’s how they are able to convey such powerful emotions.
When you are presenting, don’t just TELL a story. Instead, FEEL a story as you tell it. You audience will pick up on this and your stories will come alive for them.
What’s Your Drive?: This is one of my biggest complaints about so many presentations that I’ve sat though – the speaker didn’t have a point to make. WhenÃ‚Â you present you need to have a single point – what are you advocating that the audience should do after you are done? How are you hoping to change them? If you don’t have this, then you are just delivering a book report. Pick your position and then tell you audience why it’s the right positon for them also.
Be An Actor: Look, real life is rather boring – we see / live it every day. When you are presenting, you need to step-it-up-a-notch. You need to throw some drama into your words. You need to make your audience laugh. You need to stop being yourself and become an actor playing a role. Become larger than life and you will be able to put on a heck of a show for your audience.
Manage Your Energy: You are leading the show and so you need to be operating at a high level of energy. However, you also need to match you audience’s energy level – if they are to low (like if you were talking to bankers these days) and you are too high, then you’ll never connect to them. Instead, you need to sense their energy level and then start your presentation at an energy level that is just a bit higher then theirs. This way you’ll connect with them and they’ll follow you to whatever energy level you want to take them to.
There you go – this is a start. Anyone can stand before a group of people and deliver a boring presentation. In order to deliver a great presentation that will have an impact and will be memorable you need to become an actor!
When you’ve given a presentation in the past, have you ever had to improvise? Do you tell stories as a part of your presentations and do you take the extra time to personalize them? How do you become “larger than life” when you are giving a presentation? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.