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How To Give Memorable Presentations Using Powerful Acting Techniques

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The movie was okay but the book was better. This is something we never want an audience to think about when they come to our presentations.

Stay tuned to the Moxie Talk blog—we’re gonna make sure that no audience ever walks into your presentation and is disappointed.

Hi everyone, I’m Fia Fasbinder, and welcome to the Moxie Talk blog where we help you find your voice, share your message, and lead with confidence.

Now, the last thing any of us want when we give a presentation is for an audience that’s anticipating something wonderful to be disappointed in either the presenter or the presentation.

One of the ways we can avoid that is to borrow some techniques from the theater and those of you that have been watching my videos are familiar with Moxie Institute, you know that we borrow a lot of techniques from the theater.

In fact, I created a saying that we say often here at Moxie which is bringing Broadway to the boardroom. These days it’s even more important because cameras are always on us — ever since we went virtual because of the pandemic.

We are constantly in front of a smartphone, in front of a computer camera, in front of a Youtube channel camera, in front of an Instagram camera, so anything and everything is really a presentation now.

How do you make sure that your audience is not disappointed in your presentation? That you make them laugh, cry, engage with you, hit all their hot buttons, stir up some emotions, and give them the information they’ve been waiting for?

You bring a little theater to it.

EVERY PRESENTATION IS A PERFORMANCE

Now I’m a firm believer that every presentation is a performance. Look, every audience wants 3 things:

LEARN FROM YOU

They want to learn something and they want to learn it from you because you’re the subject matter expert.

BE ENTERTAINED

They want to be entertained. Nobody ever goes into a presentation saying “Gosh! I hope this is so boring. I am really hoping for a snoozefest.” and that is where the theater comes in.

SEE YOU DO WELL

Last but not least, they want the presenter to do well.

Hence, if you want to make sure that you are giving them information, entertaining them, and have confidence while you’re doing it even if it’s a boardroom presentation, we have to borrow a page out of the playbook of some broadway actors.

THE GOAL? BE UNFORGETTABLE

Now broadway performers have an effect on their audience long after the play is over. The audience has left the theater and they’re still having rushes of emotions, they’re talking about the play, they’re crying, they’re laughing, and they are filled up with the experience that they’ve just had in that theater.

Clearly, a boardroom presentation isn’t going to have the same effect but we do want it to be sticky. Meaning we want you as a presenter to be memorable long after your presentation is over.

How do you do that?

How do you make sure you’re memorable long after you’re finished presenting?

How do you make sure you’re one of those presenters that your audience is anticipating and they are not disappointed?

You make sure that you give them a presentation that has:

  1. An impactful opening

  2. Clear narrative structure – an arc to the information that you’re giving them, and

  3. Catchy call to action – throw in some stories and you’re making sure that you have a broadway-like performance/presentation.

If you are wondering “What stories to tell? How do I tell stories? What kind of openings would be catchy? How do I have a clear call to action? How do I give them information in a way that has a narrative arc?” Watch my videos on organizing content.

A lot of this has been borrowed from my time as a Broadway actor. Sprinkle that in with some time as a TEDx coach and voila, you have the key to creating presentations that are memorable, that your audience will anticipate so much that they’ll say:

I can’t wait for your presentation! Last time you gave it, I was so inspired” or “Last time you gave a presentation I was so motivated” or “Last time you gave a presentation I really wanted to present more like you do” — This all happens first and foremost by structuring your content in a way that’s memorable.

THE IMPORTANCE OF STORYTELLING

One of the things that broadway actors do very well and broadway playwrights do even better is they are master storytellers.

The actors bring that story to life, bring that script to life through their amazing acting skills and people leave the theater feeling like they really know these characters.

It’s really important that you use stories in your presentation if you want to be a memorable speaker. There is nothing like a story to connect us to that speaker.

Typically the stories you want to tell are your stories, they could be stories of a client, they could be stories of a customer, they could be stories of the leaders of your company and how they founded it.

Connection = Trust

However, your stories are going to create an authenticity and a vulnerability that will make your audience feel like they know you. Just like they feel like they know those actors or those characters when they leave the theater.

The reason that Broadway plays—well one of the reasons that Broadway plays are so impactful and one of the reasons that Ted Talks are so impactful—is the vulnerability and authenticity of the speakers of the performers when they tell those stories.

I used to have an acting teacher that would say “Don’t be afraid to cry! Every tear is a dollar so let it drip.”

It’s the same kind of mentality when you’re crafting your presentation. If there is a story that you’re thinking “Uhh! I don’t know if I should tell this,” but it is absolutely related to the presentation and you know your audience will connect with you more if you tell it — tell the story.

I’ll give you an example. I was working with a well-known financial team and one of their speakers had an incredible story about being raised by a single mother, who raised 7 children and worked tirelessly to support these seven children.

Their father had died at war and she was not able to save a penny because she didn’t have the skills in order to save money and her son, who was this financial planner, his mission in life was to make sure that nobody ever went into retirement broke. Nobody ever works a lifetime of 3 jobs and has no money to save for it.

So he told the story at the beginning of his presentation and then he went on to the information that he was going to present about financial planning and I will tell you there was not a dry eye in the conference.

I will also tell you that that audience that came for information on financial planning got that information but listened to the end of his presentation even though the story was at the beginning.

I will also tell you that two years, three years later, coaching this same financial planner, people are still talking about that presentation, so stories sell. Stories connect us to an audience whether it’s a broadway audience or a TEDx audience story-story-story.

Again if you’re wondering how to do this watch my video on storytelling, it’ll give you all sorts of tips and techniques to make sure your stories stand out.

AIM TO ENTERTAIN

Touching on that idea that every audience wants to be entertained, well this is something that broadway actors know. Right? Broadway actors know how to create an exciting presentation and an exciting performance—they know how to put on a show.

I wouldn’t expect you to tap dance in the board room, I don’t expect it to be jazz hands and all theatrical but you can give your presentation an element of entertainment, an element of pizzazz, an element that will make you stand out from every other presenter, an element will that will make you be the presenter that everyone is waiting for.

Entertaining = Different or Unexpected

You probably know this person in your company they’re like “Oh yeah! I can’t wait for so-and-so’s presentation,” right? So…

What are some techniques that you can do?

We talked about telling a story you could do something unexpected, do something that will catch everyone off guard, do something or say something that will be memorable whether that’s a quote, a short video, an impactful picture, an exercise, or a game you can play with your audience.

All of these are unexpected, entertaining, relevant to your presentation, and 100% memorable. These will definitely make you stand out from every other executive presentation

If you’re thinking “Oh! my executive team would never go for that,” or “I don’t have time to do it,” think of something that’s between super-boring executive presentation and a broadway performance.

Know where the line is and go right up to the edge!

Yeah, maybe you can’t do some crazy game maybe that would make you the outlier but I bet you can start with an impactful quote. That’ll definitely set you apart and it will definitely be entertaining and it will definitely be memorable.

On that account, bring some broadway to the boardroom by thinking of something you can do in your presentation that will make you memorable, make you stand out, that will be unexpected, and that people will think to themselves “I can’t wait for his next presentation!”

DELIVER YOUR MESSAGE LIKE A BROADWAY ACTOR

The cherry on top of your amazing broadway-like stories and your unexpected broadway-like quotes or activities or slides is to make sure that you are delivering your message like a Broadway actor is a powerful voice that reaches the back of the room and confident body language.

These will absolutely make sure that you are presenting with confidence, presenting the way you would expect a broadway actor to present.

Again, speaking of broadway actors, if you’re thinking “Well! I’m not confident—I’m super terrified,” one of the things actors do if they need to play a character is observe people that are like that character.

I would highly recommend if you think to yourself “I know that people can tell in my body and my voice that I’m nervous,” well the first thing I want you to do is to watch my videos on fear of public speaking and how to make sure you’re presenting with confidence.

The second thing I want you to do is go out and watch some confident presenters, whether they’re people in your company, somebody you see at a meeting, at a networking event, even at a restaurant.

Watch their body and listen to their voices. Then try to think like an actor and try to move your body and make your voice sound like this confident person. That is exactly what actors do.

It’s fun and helps you build lasting confidence.

You can create a persona of a confident person. This might not be you but as soon as you step into that boardroom you become this persona of a confident person.

These are all tips that you can use to bring some broadway to the boardroom. Now you do not have to be an actor to do any of the things I’ve talked about today.

You do not have to be a Broadway performer to tell a story, to do something unique or unexpected in your presentation, to make sure that your body and your voice sound confident, to ensure that people are talking about your presentation afterward and saying good things of course. All you have to do is borrow some techniques from broadway actors.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to make sure you are presenting and bringing some performative qualities to your presentation check out our website, moxieinstitute.com or book a call!

Almost every single one of our Moxie Master Trainers is a current or former performer who can bring that broadway to the boardroom and we have all sorts of classes that they can help you do this too.

If you like this blog and found it informative and relevant, make sure to share it with friends. subscribe to our newsletter and YouTube channel so you can see all of our other great videos and upcoming blogs.

I will see you on the next one.

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