Audiences like presenters to speak with passion. After all, if the presenter doesn’t care about their topic, why should we?
We all know this. Therefore we all also know that our audiences want us to present with passion to them.
But some of us find it hard to remember to inject passion into our presentations.
Instead, we often resort to last-minute, rushed prep; and then use wordy slides to act as speaker prompts. And, let’s face it, it’s virtually impossible to speak with passion to your audience if you have to read your slides. This approach just doesn’t work for the audience. Which means it doesn’t work well for you.
It’s understandable to take this approach once — after all, we all get crazy-busy sometimes. But when it becomes the norm, that’s when the problems start.
How passionate are you?
Here are two quick questions for you:
- On a scale of 1 (bad) to 10 (brilliant), how would you grade your ability to always present with passion?
- What grade would your audiences give you?
Presenters’ passion tends to come from one of three sources:
- What you’re like
- What you’re saying
- What you’re causing
So, for the first, some people are just like that. They’re passionate about everything and it shows.
Others get their passion from their subject matter. For example, a technical specialist loves their topic and gets a real buzz when talking about it — and the audience is inspired by this.
The third type loves the impact their presentation will cause: what I call the “afters”: why people are better-off after hearing it. There are two main types of afters here: why your audience is better-off, and why you are better-off.
My burning passion
For example, my burning passion is to enable the people I speak to. That puts me in the third group. So, during my prep, I’ve worked out why they’ll be better-off after hearing me speak — for instance, they’ll have more clarity, time freed up, quicker buy-in. And I keep focusing on that during my presentation.
This makes it easy for me to speak with passion. You don’t have to be in group three but you do want to be in one of these groups. Because if you aren’t, there’s too little passion. And when that happens, nobody wins.
Before your next presentation, ask yourself: What’s the source for my passion? Will it come from what I am like, saying or causing?. And then, keep focusing on your answers throughout your prep, delivery and follow-up.
Andy Bounds is a communications expert, speaker and the author of The Snowball Effect: Communication Techniques to Make You Unstoppable. You can sign up for his free weekly tips here.