March 16

Presentations Lack Energy? Let Your Bad Actor Out!


Many salespeople don’t speak with as much energy or personality in business as they do in their personal lives—we tend to flatten things out, pull them in, tone them down.  Why?  Because they’ve been conditioned to go into “business mode.”  What’s business mode, you ask?  Think of the soothing voice of an NPR host, a golf announcer or a flight attendant.  The very intent of business mode is not to rile, disrupt or stand out.  It’s background noise.  Our clients and prospects have dozens of people every day droning on to them in business mode.  When you’re in business mode you blend in with the crowd – no matter how exciting or innovative your offering.  In business mode you do not stand out.  And to not stand out as a presenter means you are relying on your product or service to make the sale.

So how do you break out of business mode and make sure you bring the necessary passion and energy to your presentation?

Let your Bad Actor out with this proven acting technique:

This technique is called Going Over-the-Top.  It is what actors often do before a performance in order to pump up their energy so their personality and passion can shine through.

Channel Al Pacino or Sylvestor Stallone…

If you’ve ever seen Al Pacino, he is known for going BIG in his roles.  In his later years, you might say, a little too big.  While it hasn’t won him any awards, he is demonstrating a great rehearsal technique for getting pumped up for your presentation or call.  Pacino’s over-the-top persona is no holds bar.  That’s the level of gusto you want to aim for!

How to Go Over-the-Top:

Here’s how you can apply this technique before your presentation:

  • Read your presentation out loud with as much energy and excitement as you can muster. Go OVER the top, and then push yourself even further.  Think Bad Community Theater.
  • Emphasize every other word.
  • Gesture dramatically.
  • Throw your voice.
  • And most importantly, have fun with it! (By the way, if you are one of those salespeople who is always percolating at a near-boil, please disregard!)

Now, you’re probably thinking, that’s too big.  I might blow a client out of his chair.  Don’t worry.  You’re not going to do this with an actual client! The Bad Actor read serves as a launching pad for your actual presentation.  Immediately after going over-the-top, read your presentation again in your normal (indoor) voice.  You will find that your delivery is energized and exciting without sounding phony.

This technique of going big then pulling back helps you retain some energy and personality in your presentation while keeping it real.  Letting your Bad Actor out is a great exercise to do before you go into a meeting and one you can easily do in your home or your car.

If you still find your presentations lack energy or are getting stale or you’re stuck in business mode (the words sound canned, flat, or monotone), find more tips here.

Don’t let a lack of energy stand between you and a sale.  Let your Bad Actor out and leave business mode to the competition.


Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore


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