Oh no not another professional robot speaking! – how to be a personable and professional presenter

maskOne of the questions I am often asked about presenting is how to allow your personality to shine through but at the same time remain professional and in control.

In fact someone said to me the other day that he was very much aware that when he spoke up in presentations, all his personality drained out of his boots and he became ‘corporate’ and ‘professional’. His listeners didn’t get a chance to know the ‘real’ him, the one with a sense of humour, a life and a warm personality.

And that is the thing isn’t it? It is easy to think that giving a presentation automatically means we have to put on this mask and adopt a posture, a language and behaviours that are alien to us as real life human beings! And I am sure you will have seen this happening in front of your very eyes when you see colleagues or connections stand up and speak and transform into automatons.

So what to do?

  1. Get rid of the PowerPoint (at least until you know what and how you will be speaking about).  Switching on the tech before you know what your message is guaranteed to suck the life out of your presentation. After all when we speak with other humans we don’t talk in bullets points do we?
  2. Think about the take away message you want people to leave with. Not the exact words but the thing they will remember. And then build your presentation around that. Imagine you ask a listener to give you the gist of your presentation . What is it you want to hear back from them?
  3. Don’t script it. Practice speaking your presentation out loud, jot down notes, prompts but resist the temptation to write a full blown script (because you will end up writing written English which is very very different to spoken English.
  4. Use conversational language. Include lots of rhetorical questions, tell lots of stories, give examples. Pause. Smile. Use the word ‘you’ a lot. Ask for agreement.

What does a professional presentation sound like to you? Would love to hear back from you

And if you need any support with your presentation skills contact Catherine here. And make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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