I don’t mean “great” presenters – although often successful presenters are great. I mean what successful presenters do. Presenters who get the sale, convince the board of directors, lead their team in a new direction, presenters who are heard and understood, who are compelling, connecting and convincing. Want to be like them? Do these five things.
1. Turn your focus 180 degrees: Successful presenters don’t think about themselves. They know they matter very little to the success of their message. What’s most important is their audience, so they turn their focus to them. What problems do they have? What goals? What matters to them? What moves them? What scares them? With the answers to these questions in mind, they craft their presentation.
2. Be speaking your audience’s language: Successful presenters don’t load their presentations with jargon words and acronyms. Their goal is to connect with their audience, not baffle them, bewilder them or leave them befuddled. They use evocative, easy to understand and connect with language. Successful presenters understand that jargon words and acronyms don’t impress, they alienate.
3. Talk, don’t read: Successful presenters know that the written word is different than the spoken word. They know that in order to connect with their audience they need to be looking them in the eyes, speaking to them from the heart, not from a piece of paper, or worse – from a slide. So what if their sentences aren’t perfect? The strength and sentiment behind the message will come through loud and clear; eye to eye.
4. Believe what you say: Which is why successful presenters know they must believe their message, ‘eat their own cooking’ as a colleague of mine likes to say. Successful presenters wouldn’t dream of claiming someone else’s story as their own, or try and be like someone else. They know that sincerity and authenticity are critical to gaining their audience’s trust.
5. Practice OUT LOUD: Successful presenters never ‘wing it’. They respect their audiences way too much for that. Equally important, they know that they will only know how good their presentation is when they hear it OUT LOUD. Successful presenters are way too savvy to believe that the ideas they toss around in their head will come out sounding fully formed and thought through. They practice OUT LOUD. And then they practice OUT LOUD again.
You have everything you need to be a successful presenter. As long as you are willing to put your audience first, speak to them in language they can understand and connect with, and talk to them directly rather than read from a script or slide. If you believe in your message and your ability to deliver it your way and you practice OUT LOUD to make sure you’ve got it right, you’ll be a successful presenter, and you’ll be heard.