Your enthusiasm attracts people to you, whether you are giving a presentation to one thousand people or one client. Enthusiasm and energy are the magic attractors that pull in your audience and makes them listen to what you have to say.
If you’re not enthusiastic about the information you’re sharing, if your passion doesn’t shine through, no one else will care. You set the tone and create the atmosphere through your irresistible energy. And here’s a secret: Enthusiasm doesn’t have to be loud and over the top to gather an audience, but it does have to genuine.
Here are my five favorite tips for making sure your enthusiasm shines through.
#1: Let it go! All too often, when we’re about to make a presentation, whether it’s a PowerPoint for a small group or a talk on stage, we pull back our emotions because we don’t want to embarrass ourselves. We’re afraid that if we show how passionate we are about an idea, a product, or a cause, people will laugh or look down on us. Yet people can be worldly-wise and successful and still be passionate; in fact, the most successful people never lose their passion.
Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to be emotionally invested in your presentation. Your passion is a good thing, and when you are authentic with your audience, it feels right and they will respond. An audience senses real passion as easily as it catches on to false enthusiasm. They’ll be engaged with your message because you’re engaged. They’ll feel your commitment and passion for your subject and they’ll listen to you.
#2: Have a goal. Go into your presentation knowing what your goal is. What do you want to achieve? What do you want to have happen? Once you have an outcome in mind, you can be personally invested in making that outcome a reality. You need to be clear with yourself on your goals for the presentation and you need to communicate them to your audience so they can take action. For example, you might want to inspire your audience to:
- Buy your book
- Sign a petition and volunteer to join or help your organization
- Engage your services
- Inspire and motivate others to begin looking at their perspective on life and prospects more positively
Craft your speech so that you build enthusiasm in your listeners, making them receptive to action and wanting to know—‘what can I do to make that happen?’
#3: Make a call to action. All too often, speakers give their presentation and then fail to clearly give the audience an action plan. A call to action doesn’t have to mean selling something. It can be literally asking your audience to take a step—action—and move toward whatever outcome you have inspired them to seek.
Many people suffer from too little enthusiasm, purpose and passion in their lives. They may be mired in a rut, stifled by boredom, disinterest, negativity and doubt. Your enthusiasm and passion can provide the power they need to overcome inertia and get things moving. It’s your energy that pulls other people along and helps to make a change.
For example, you might encourage your audience to go back to school, get a degree, start a business, give money to a non-profit or vote for or against an issue. Or, you might make a call to action to get your listeners to buy your book, hire you, or buy your product. In both cases, your audience is waiting for you to give them the next steps. Make it easy for them to take action!
#4 Make a presentation people remember. Think about all the presentations you’ve heard in your life, in school, at organizations, on TV, at work. Out of all those, there are probably only a handful—and maybe just one or two—that have been memorable. Those few presentations may have even changed your life. What made them different from all the others?
Presentations we remember speak to something that is already deep inside us something that has been unexpressed, maybe unacknowledged. A speaker will recount something from their personal history that was a turning point or hardship that led to bigger things. Before and after stories are also common, as are poignant stories that create listener identification with the speaker and bring emotions to the surface. Those are the kinds of things people remember, because the speaker made them think, question, identify and feel.
A memorable presentation helps the listener see himself/herself in a different way and feel empowered to make a change for the better. That change may be self-acceptance, a willingness to move forward toward a goal, or trying something new.
#5: Realize that every audience is different. Audiences directly affect your presentation, and you will be affected by events that took place immediately prior to your turn to speak, or that are coming immediately after your talk. Every presentation you make will be slightly different because you are presenting to different people.
How do you deal with so many variables? The key is to stay connected to your audience so you can adjust your energy level to where they are. You can do this by making eye contact with different people throughout your speech, by calling on individuals or getting audience participation, by telling stories with different types of main characters, and by being accessible after the presentation for those who want to approach you one-on-one.
Put these five tips to use in your next presentation, and see what a difference it makes!
“ I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou