tips & tricks for inspiring and passionate presentations
12 November, 2014
I have two main goals in my life: to Inspire and to create Impact! So after my former blog on networking, I figured it would be suitable to write a blog about presentations, especially since I’m doing this often and I love doing it! Because with it, I can inspire, show my passion, create impact, as well as activate people to do more than they figured they could do. So what makes a presentation worthwhile to listen to? How do you give such a presentation? How do you prepare sufficiently, but not too much? And how to keep the fun in it, even when you’re utterly nervous?
All tips & tricks are my own, and nothing is a blueprint. Let yourself be inspired, but nothing is a must in this sense. Your own twist and story counts.
1. The content:
The content should be your own story, even if it is a story of someone else, try to make it your own. Own examples, your own story, your passion, should be reflected in your presentation. This way, you will probably feel less nervous (it’s your story, so you remember it better), your are more relax and = your talk will connect to your audience because you have room to show you enthusiasm. Whether using PowerPoint, Prezi, or just your own pitch and paper, twist it to your own. Humor not only relaxes the audience, but yourself as well, so use it a couple of times, not too much: you’re not a comedian, unless you want to become one and you want to practice.
- I did a presentation in Istanbul on 14 October 2014 for Hivos. It was a presentation I prepared myself and it was my own topic, yet, I also stood there as a representative of Hivos, even though I did this in assignment of them. Yet, I made the presentation theirs and my own. I used some small jokes, but the setting was not to make it a comedian like presentation.
- I did a presentation in February at a Clean Tech conference in front of 200 people which was totally my own presentation. I twisted it into my own story, although some of it was related to my work in Ecuador and their story. Jokes and an assignment for them were also included as to relax myself, the audience and to connect with and between them through an exercise.
2. Preparation & relaxation:
Preparation: If preparing, practice out loud, even before a small crowd of colleagues or friends. Stand still at those points which doesn’t go smoothly, and those that do. Use your own style, while also being relaxed and enjoying the ride.
Presentation: Try to walk around, giving yourself different positions in order to relax. Sitting is something I hardly do, because it is not activating and if you are not, than your audience usually won’t be either. Use your arms and hands, but not too much: your’re not in the gym.
Relaxation: Breathe…. And pump yourself up before the presentation. Do something (else) before the presentation, but not too much because then you may be worn out before you even start with the presentation. Another trick I sometimes use is the following: I tend to be in my own thoughts and zone and try to keep the audience’s eyes away in the sense that I neglect they are there, yet I do speak out of passion and aim to connect. It just helps me go through the first nervous seconds. Remember to breath during the presentation too, and take some pauses once in a while to reconsider your next steps and words.
- In Istanbul, I was a bit nervous before the presentation. I did some relaxing exercises, breathing, doing something else, strengthening my mind by thinking positive and strong thoughts, and telling myself: it’s not a problem if I make mistakes, not at all. Just recover and continue when it happens. What is the worst thing that can happen? Maybe loosing what you wanted to say? Well, you can take some time to reconsider and continue. In the end, I was very relaxed when presenting. Also because I had the presentation right in front of me, together with a piece of paper with my notes. I was well prepared, and not too prepared since the latter may give extra tension because then everything SHOULD be perfect. But it’s okay not to be perfect. In fact, nobody is, and nobody dies because of it. We were not born in tights and a cape (unfortunately since many of us would loved that), so just doing your best is enough.
- At Clean Tech I was also nervous, but I used the breathing exercise and during the day, before presenting, I kept myself busy with other things, but not too much in order to have energy left for the presentation.
Wear what you feel like that day. Maybe not too tight or neat, but something in between. Something you feel comfortable in, yet not too comfortable like your sweat shirt and sport trousers. Something neat, but easy to wear. For instance, I often wear a skirt or dress and shoes which don’t hurt me after 30 seconds!
4. The presentation: Passion!
If you prepared well, are relaxed and focused, you can concentrate on your tone, and your passion. Passion is utterly important if you want to inspire and activate your audience. Are you passionate about your topic? Show it! Do not be scared of showing your passion, because it is contagious, activating, and motivating!
- For instance, at an event, before Al Gore came to the stage, the host asked people to pitch their ideas, and they had 20 seconds to think it over! I immediately jumped up because I felt this was my chance of pitching a nice project I’m working on in Nepal. With passion, I pitched the project, and had a round of applause. I forgot I was even standing in front of 500 people: I was so excited that I just pitched and enjoyed the ride. I was in the flow! And that happens only when you believe in your project and yourself!
In the end, I love presenting because it can boost your energy, your passion, and more importantly: you have an impact on people’s lives, even if it’s small.
So Present! Inspire! Motivate! Keep Calm! And Enjoy your ride!
If you like personal tips & tricks for presenting, networking and/or coaching, you can contact me through: firstname.lastname@example.org