December 17

Presentations and Presence: 7 Practical Tips (Part 1 of 2)


A brilliant script delivered poorly by an actor is unlikely to break any box office records. Likewise, compelling value and benefit statements are critical components of your presentation, but you can’t rely on the content to do all the heavy lifting.

Just like a great actor can make a mediocre movie watchable (like Sandra Bullock in The Lake House above.  You didn’t think I  meant Keanu Reeves, did you?!), great presenters can make average content good and good content exceptional.

The most effective presentations are a marriage between presentation and presenter: as the presenter, you are the lightning rod that connects the message to the audience. Great presenters have what is often referred to as “presence,” that ability to light up any stage and draw an audience in. As a salesperson, whether your stage is a conference room or a computer screen, you need to establish presence with your audience if you want your listeners to connect with your message.

Here are the first three of seven practical and proven ways to help you develop and add presence to your presentation or demo so you can ensure your message lands and sticks!

    1.  Warm-up
      It’s impossible to go from zero to one-hundred on the spot, yet that’s what most presenters attempt to do. Give yourself time to ramp up to your optimal state by warming up before your presentation. Those first few moments in front of your audience are critical. Don’t waste them working out the kinks in your delivery or getting into your rhythm. How do you warm up? Think voice, body and mind. Work on proper breathing, releasing tension, energizing your body and strengthening your voice. A short pre-presentation warm-up will help settle nerves, increase confidence and go a long way toward having you communicating at your highest potential. For a quick free pre-presentation warm-up click here.
    2. Choose a strong intention
      Sure the ultimate intention is to close the deal, but our first intention must be more immediate and take into account how we want our audience to feel. An intention is an active verb that flows underneath our words and actions. It’s critical that you know what your intention is, because if you don’t know, trust me, neither will your audience. When pressed for an intention, sellers often respond that they are trying to “tell, show or educate” their audience. These are what we call in performance “weak” intentions. They have no strong action or feeling associated with them and lets face it, how many times is your prospect being told or shown something each day? Strong intentions, like “excite, motivate, persuade or prove” create strong feelings, actions and passion in you as a presenter. Go in with a strong intention in mind and you’ll notice a dramatic difference in your energy and how your audience responds to you.
    3. Channel your energy
      Creating presence is often mistaken for increasing volume, movement or making bigger gestures. While this may help (especially if your natural state is more subdued and you need to amp it up a few notches), a presentation delivered entirely at this level can feel like being on the other end of a fire hose.  Raise your energy but don’t release it all at once. Think about channeling it into specific movements and statements. For example, you may want to try slowing down, pausing or getting quieter instead of louder when you want to make a point. Bigger isn’t necessarily always better.  More tips on owning the sales stage with your energy here.

Presence is a vital element in your presentation or demo, especially with today’s busy decision-maker.   Stay tuned for 4 More Tips in Part 2!


photo credit: Slaff via photopin cc


presence, presentation skills, sales presentations

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