I’ve watched a LOT of presentations. My favorites are the ones where the presenter actually seems to be enjoying themselves. Plus the stories. I love love LOVE hearing stories in a presentation. And then there are the presenters who are almost apologetic for giving their presentation. They always leave me wondering, “How interested are you in this?” Because if you don’t care about your topic, why should I?
The Uninterested vs. The Interested
You know the kind of presenter I’m talking about. They usually don’t stand up. Often you can’t even tell who exactly is talking at first because they are hiding behind their laptop. It may seem like they are just really into their material, but they’re hiding. Trust me. You can tell by the tone of their voice. It’s usually hard to hear, monotone, and sometimes mumbling. If you listen closely, you can hear the, “I would literally rather be anywhere else on the planet than here right now” undertones. They are the ones who almost sound apologetic for making you listen.
Now think about the best presenters you’ve seen/heard. One of the common denominators is how interested they seem in their own presentation. I’m not talking about arrogance. That’s a total “no”. But excited, enthusiastic, energetic… just plain interested! It makes all the difference.
I’ve gotten interested in presentations on topics I don’t normally think about simply because the presenter seemed excited.
This extends beyond presentations. My brother is not good at hiding his emotions. It’s possible that it runs in the family. But very differently. He’s a total introvert and well, I’m not. Anyway, when he’s tired or feeling kind of grumpy or just doesn’t really want to talk to me on the phone, his voice sounds like the one I described above. Without even listening to his words, I get the clear message. He doesn’t want to talk and doesn’t care about anything we might be talking about.
Don’t put us to sleep
I’ve never fully bought into the numbers game when it comes to communication, where only 7% of what you say is impacting your audience. By the same token, I’ve experienced firsthand that the non-verbal components make a huge impact. A colleague I used to work with was fond of saying that if your energy level is low, your audience may be asleep.
After all, isn’t that who we should be most concerned about here? How do you want your audience to feel or respond to your presentation? How do you want your team member to respond to your 1-1? How do you want your boss to respond to your ideas? An important influencer in all of those scenarios is your level energy/enthusiasm/excitement. If you don’t seem interested or excited, don’t expect anyone else to be.