The difference between a good presentation and one that brings the house down is simple: YOU!
Executive presence is the essence of leadership, and notable speakers maintain it across all stages—including the really big ones. Think MLK, Kennedy, Oprah, Churchill. No matter the occasion, their presence conveyed confidence, competence, commitment and authenticity to the audience.
When you’re on-stage, in front of a client or speaking to a large audience, do you exude the same credibility that you do in the boardroom? Leading a team? In department meetings? Pitching your greatest idea?
Capturing that same charisma and effortless swagger on a big stage is one of the most sophisticated steps to becoming an excellent orator, but it’s well within your grasp. Spend some time working on the techniques below and a well-earned standing ovation will soon be headed your way.
LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP
Your number one job on stage is to spark emotion in the audience. Joy, courage, fear, relief – they need to feel something before your words will matter. This evocative engagement is known as the Language of Leadership, and it is firmly rooted in storytelling.
Humans have used stories to convey information for millions of years and we are hardwired to process information this way. Failing to use your personal experience, anecdotes, mistakes and successes to shape a narrative the audience can fully embrace is like speaking with the lights off.
Audiences retain 80% more information when they experience emotion during your talk, and your authentic experience is the surest way to resonate after the presentation ends.
OWN YOUR SPACE
A stage is a big place and it’s your job to utilize it fully. Speakers who stand in one place appear small and physically overwhelmed by the size of their soapbox, while those who stand behind a podium put a barrier between themselves and the audience. In each case, the audience’s engagement wanes and speakers feel more isolated.
Remember, the audience is rooting for you. Be someone they want to get behind, someone they want to cheer for. Make use of space to underscore your points, pausing and posing to emphasize a key message before moving toward another part of the stage. Maximize the space your body takes up in a room by opening your chest cavity to the audience and keeping your head held high.
A slouching Superman wouldn’t inspire much confidence. Stand tall, own your space and connect with your stakeholders.
PITY THE FOOL
How many times have you seen someone begin a presentation by apologizing? Whether it’s their ill-preparedness, a technical snafu or something else altogether, their words immediately demonstrate insecurity, asking the audience to forgive or possibly even pity them.
The audience decides what it thinks of you long before deciding how it feels about your message. Beyond the content of your message, how you say it speaks volumes. We expect leaders to sound confident, enthusiastic and empathetic in the most difficult situations.
Project authority in your voice to seem like a subject matter expert. Remain calm and composed when the going gets tough, and your gravitas will set you apart in any environment.
Want to learn more performance tips and training techniques like this? Give the MOXiE Institute a call or join our upcoming Speak with MOXiE Masterclass. We’ll develop a custom plan to capitalize on your existing strengths and sharpen your edges wherever necessary.
Talk is cheap, performance is priceless.
By Gregg & Fia Fasbinder