August 25

How to Break Out of “Presenter Mode”


                                                                                                                  Illustration courtesy of

In business, most people (and salespeople are no exception) don’t speak with as much energy or personality as they do in their personal lives. They tend to flatten or smooth things out and tamp down the good and the bad news alike. Telling a prospect you’re going to save them a million dollars is delivered with the same enthusiasm as telling them they can get their parking validated. Sometimes I can actually see the switch flip off on otherwise perfectly engaging salespeople as their tone and manner shift into something more suitable for NPR.

Why is this a problem?

Operating in what I call “presenter mode” eliminates valuable opportunities to engage and connect with your audience. It puts you at risk for sounding like everyone else and having your message blurred as well. How do you break out of presenter mode?

Here are three ways:

1. Warm-up. Whether you’re performing on the business stage or the theatrical stage, don’t waste those first few critical moments warming up on your audience. Take some time before your next meeting to warm-up your voice and your body in order to ensure you are communicating at your best. Get your free vocal and physical warm-up here.

2. Go over-the-top. It’s impossible to go from zero to one-hundred on the spot, so give yourself time to ramp up. In order to hit the business stage running, before you go on, find somewhere private to do an “over-the-top” read of your presentation using as much energy and excitement as you can muster. In other words, whatever you think is big for you in terms of voice, gestures and movement – go even BIGGER. (If you are one of those salespeople who is always percolating at a near-boil, please disregard!) Now, keeping that energy up, deliver your presentation again in your normal (indoor) voice. Because it’s easier to “take it down” than to bring it up, this is a great exercise to do to add some positive energy and personality to your delivery while keeping it real.

3. Mix it up. If you still find your delivery stale or the words sounding canned, flat, or monotone, try one of the following:

  • Rap or sing your presentation.
  • Say it while dancing, exercising, or jumping in place.
  • Emphasize random words.
  • Eliminate the punctuation and mix up the cadences.



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