Have you ever wondered why a stamp collector can give a presentation to a crowd? Hint: It’s not necessarily because stamp collecting is riveting. It is because the speaker has so much passion that they make a rare find sound like walking on the moon.
Have you ever wondered why your well-prepared and factual presentations elicit nothing but polite yawns and a few high scores in Candy Crush? It is often because, despite all your hard work, you could not translate your love for your subject through the slides.
A presentation usually falls into two categories. It is either a great chance for a power nap or it becomes the most inspiring part of the day. To take your audience from lightly dozing to vigorously applauding, you need one thing: passion.
It is not a secret that the things that you are best at are the things that you are passionate about. But beyond this, the things that you find so interesting are often the things that you can sell to other people if you put your mind to it. Chances are, you do sell something you love every day when you recommend books, movies, and restaurants to friends and family. But, delivering a passionate presentation goes beyond giving a talk that gives people a shot at staying awake. It allows people to buy into what you are saying. When you connect with your audience emotionally, they are more likely to remember the message of your talk.
It is one thing to understand that you need to be passionate on stage. It is another thing to make it happen. Follow these three tips for creating passionate and powerful presentations on whatever it is that you love.
Tell a Story
People cannot connect with facts, figures, and numbers when you spout them verbally. To get people to engage with your presentation, you need to put your passion to good use and turn your data into a narrative.
The narrative is in there somewhere, even if the company or sector you are talking about isn’t the most exciting. The things you are talking about started out one way, changed somehow, and arrived at the present day in a linear way. What you need to do is turn that into a story that grabs people. Then, at the very least, the audience knows where they are and how they got there.
Storytelling is about more than just the story. It is in how you tell it. You do not need to infantilize your audience by pretending it’s story hour. You also do not need to exaggerate events by jumping up and down on the stage. Instead, let your emotions run through naturally. The best kind of storytelling comes from convincing acting that not only showcases your real feelings but lets the audience reach their own.
Don’t Hide Behind Your PowerPoint
Your PowerPoint is a prop. It is a tool that you use to give your audience something to look at. It is a nice place to put important facts, quotes, or charts. It is also a handy place to illustrate your jokes. But, your PowerPoint is not your presentation.
Too many people use their PowerPoint as a crutch rather than a prop. It is tempting to read directly from your presentation when you are nervous. But, instead of relying on your visual aids, free yourself from them.
The best way to do this is to make a minimalist PowerPoint. Include only the most essential points of your presentation so that you and the audience can refer to them when necessary. When you do not have your whole presentation written out on the screen, there is no way you can rely on it.
When you use your slideshow as an aid, you have more room to connect with your audience through your speech. You may even end up improvising. This is not a bad thing. It may be that your improvisation turns out to be the most important part of your presentation.
Act Like You Know It All
When you are passionate about something, you probably know a lot more about it than you realize. Instead of acting like you are moderately excited about something you’re interested in, act like you are the king of your presentation.
When you use your passion to create confidence, it is not only easier for your audience to believe in you but for you to believe in you. This will have an effect that results not only in a great presentation but in a great life and career as well.
Passion is the key to baking a soufflé and to giving a great presentation. If you can harness your own passion, you can turn your next talk into a crowd-pleasing attraction.
Featured photo credit: NASA Goddard via flickr.com