Why Don’t You Act Like A Presenter During Your Presentation?

by drjim on December 31, 2008

Presenters Use Acting Tips To Keep Their Presentations From Becoming Boring

Presenters Use Acting Tips To Keep Their Presentations From Becoming Boring

Previously we had discussed the fact that any presentation that you give is really sort of like a one person show – if you know how to act, then you’ll be more effective.

The challenge, of course, is that very few of us have been trained to be an actor. Additionally, we tend to think of actors as being “over the top” types of performers (sorta like Heath Leger in that Batman movie).  The truth is actually much different – acting is simply knowing what to say or how to move in order to influence your audience in some way. We’d all like to be able to do that, right?

Here are five acting tips that you can start using in order to improve your next presentation.

Speak In The Moment: In order to make your presentation more powerful, you need to fine tune it to your audience and their current mood. Great actors don’t just memorize their lines, they “stay in the moment” and are constantly reacting to what’s going on in their scene. You need to be constantly reacting to your audience’s feedback and using this to modify how you present your information.

Keep It Fresh: There is the old saying that “variety is the spice of life”. This is especially true when it comes to presentations. Anything that you do for too long will start to bore your audience. Today’s audiences have very short attention spans and you need to be constantly changing your presentation in order to keep them engaged. Ways to change your presentation include emphasis, movement, volume, energy level or material being presented.

Risky Business: If you are not taking any risks in your presentations, then you are not providing a dynamic presentation – it’s going to be the same every time and that’s boring. Trying out new things, interacting with audience members, these are all things that carry an element of risk. Risk keeps things interesting for both you and your audience.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Commitment: When you decide to add some acting to your presentation, do it full throttle. The worst thing that you can do is go at it half speed. It’s your passion and your commitment that will win your audience over in the end.

Concentration Is The Key To Relaxation: If you aren’t careful and you let your mind wander, then you will end up focusing on just how nervous you are. Do what actors do: focus your mind on how you have prepared, the words that you want to say, and your audience – basically anything but your nerves.

There you have it, all of the tips that you need in order to start using the skills that actors use in your next presentation. I can’t promise that you’ll bring home a golden globe award, but the greatest complement will be if your audience can’t wait to see your next show!

How do you vary your speech to keep it interesting for both you and your audience? When was the last time that you took a risk with a presentation? What risk did you take? How do you work to relax before starting a presentation? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

E.G. Sebastian April 8, 2009 at 8:14 am

Great points!

I’d say, however, that not every presenter is created equal. Some might even say that I don’t come across as a presenter at all. On many of my feedback forms, a regular comment that keeps popping up is “very conversational” – which I take as a compliment.

I involve my audience in my presentations. I ask questions, I have them do group exercises then debrief them… Most of my presentations are highly dynamic. If you’d meassure my interraction with the audience on a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being the highest), you’d see me somewhere around 8. Which brings up another point: I’m more of a facilitator than a presenter. I help my audience members learn through self-discovery (through interractive exercises), hence the learning is more effective than if I told them the same ideas…

E.G. Sebastian
Author, Speaker, Leadership Development Coach

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Dr. Jim Anderson April 10, 2009 at 7:34 pm

E.G.: Note that this blog is called “The Accidental Communicator”, not “The Accidental Speaker”! I fully agree with your approach – you need to do whatever it takes to cause a change in your audience. I admire the fact that you are able to get comfortable enough with your audience that you can have a “conversation” with them. This is what they will remember long after your time with them is done…

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