Presenting – what makes an inspiring presentation?

Have you ever attended a presentation and felt bored, had difficulty absorbing the information, or worse, had difficulty staying awake?

What makes a presentation really inspiring and engaging and what captures hearts and minds so that everyone who hears it, leaves feeling exactly as the presenter hopes?

Many people spend hours on making fun or informative slides to show.   Many people have attended presentation skills courses.   But very few people indeed really understand what is at the root of a thoroughly inspiring presentation.   Sadly, many people imagine that they just aren’t lucky enough to be a naturally engaging and interesting presenter.   The truth is, with a little bit of knowledge and understanding of what really grabs listeners it is possible to upgrade your presenting skill hugely.   Hint: it’s not what you say, but the way that you say it!

These days we seem to hear a lot about Charisma.   But what is it and how do you develop it?

I like Joe and Melody Cheal’s definition: “…….perform without arrogance and facilitate without egotism. They build connection and credibility. They are flexible and passionate about their subject. They tend to love presenting and they hold their audience in the highest regard.”

The Cheals are talking about the ‘state’ of the presenter rather than what they put on their slides and I agree wholeheartedly!   Some of the most inspiring presentations I have seen haven’t shown a single slide the entire time they were on the podium.   And yet so many people spend so long on the props – or even the opening and closing paragraphs.   Most presentation training is about this sort of thing and ‘grabbers’ and other bits of content.

When in fact the thing that makes an inspiring presentation tends to be – an inspiring and inspired presenter!

Because it is through the tones and tunes of your voice and your body language that you convey your ‘state’ it is much more productive to work on those factors and I am always amazed at how few people want to learn how to up-skill these areas of their performance, compared with the time and money spent learning about “grabbers and slides”.

So if you want to learn to be more inspiring or charismatic consider looking for a training which is focused on your ‘state’ rather than on the details of your words or your props.   Until you know how to be in the most inspiring state the best slide presentation will not make up for it or have people leaving your talk feeling thoroughly inspired.


Here is a little 5 step process you can go through to help yourself become more inspiring and charismatic:

  1. Make a list of presentations that have really inspired you
  2. Make a second list of the best qualities that the presenter conveyed in those presentations so you can begin to map those inspiring presenters ‘state of mind’ instead of what they said or whether they had succinct slides (of course if you are using slides – make sure they are minimal and not cluttered with too much information)
  3. Name at least 3 times when you were in each of the states of mind that you have listed above and remember vividly what that felt like so you feel it all over again now.  Notice what you looked like and sounded like at that time again now.
  4. Project a vivid and realistic life sized imaginary image of yourself standing in front of you in the states of mind you have been remembering.  Have yourself turn round 360 degrees and say “hi everyone” so you can hear what you sound like and watch how you move.
  5. Physically step into that imagined you and take the time to melt into the body posture facial expression and most importantly the state of mind you are aiming for.   Now say “hi everyone” as many times as it takes to get the sound to match your imagined you.

If that feels and sounds good and you would like more of that for the next time you are presenting then do this exercise over and over – practice makes perfect!  (oh I just HAVE to add this – or book a session with me and I will help you upskill with pleasure!)

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