“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
When teachers are passionate about what they’re teaching, it’s infectious. When the barista tells us to “have a good day” with a genuine smile, we can’t help but smile back. And when a presenter is enthusiastic, the energy fills the room. Think back on the last few presentations that challenged, motivated or inspired you — there is a high probability that the presenters were truly excited about what they were talking about. They were knowledgeable. They were passionate. And you became just as enthusiastic, too.
Enthusiasm can make or break a speech. Here are tips for inserting enthusiasm into your next presentation.
Into the Wild
Survival expert and reality TV star Bear Grylls has been recorded on more than one occasion saying that the #1 skill set he looks for in any expedition team member is enthusiasm. Why? Bear is adamant that in the wild there is no time for a negative spirit or attitude, and those who are enthusiastic will often approach challenging situations with optimism. It’s the one survival skill needed to press forward when things begin to look very dim, and it separates those who survive from those who give up and perish.
Tip: Emphasize the positive aspects of your presentation.
Charles Manz’s “The Power of Failure” references a recent study which revealed that a collection of insurance agents who demonstrated enthusiasm had 37% more sales than their pessimistic colleagues. This is an obvious testament that a little bit of excitement for something so boring and mundane as insurance can provide huge rewards.
Tip: If you have a call-to-action for your audience (which you should have!) make sure you’re especially enthusiastic when presenting it. It could be the difference between people signing up for your site, or whatever your call-to-action is, or not.
Beyond the Message
Your body language coveys a message just as much, if not more, than the words themselves. What you do with your body language, tone, vocal projection and everything in between matters – a lot. You can spend countless hours building and designing a beautiful deck, but if you yourself can’t get enthusiastic about the message, it will go nowhere.
Tip: Step away from that lectern or computer, and make sure your body language conveys openness and energy.
Being “on” and showing enthusiasm aren’t always easy. The demands of your day, travel schedule or the presentation itself already provide a fair amount of stress. But it’s crucial to your success. Just remember to smile, and imagine what a little bit of it can do for your next presentation.
About the Author
Scott Schwertly is the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki. If Scott is not working with his team building presentations, you will find him in the pool, on the bike, or on a long run. Scott lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and three dogs. He has a B.A. and M.B.A. from Harding University.
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