For many professionals, being on the receiving end of a typical business presentation today feels akin to the way they wake up most mornings; tired, vacant and depleted. How many business presentations do you walk away from each week filled with vigour and vitality?
Sadly, it’s more likely that you’ll return to your desk or car feeling a little groggy.
That’s why, the jewel in the crown of high impact presenting and public speaking is Zest. It’s that presentation you walk away from that was delivered with energy, enthusiasm and passion that left you:
Ready to act
The magic ingredient that leaves us feeling that way is zest, although its not really magical; it’s available to each of us.
Where does it come from?
If you accept our belief that zest is a quality inherent in each and every one of us but struggle to feel it when presenting, you may wonder where yours is hiding. Zest comes from a number of key sources including but not restricted to:
You can have the most compelling content and stunning visuals in the world but they account for very little if you don’t believe your own message. Today’s audiences are extremely discerning, they can sense belief the moment you speak. It’s not an act, it’s not something you can be trained in and there isn’t a book or blog in the world that can give it to you. It’s something you either have or you don’t. The absence of belief is simply ‘going through the motions’. Zest is underpinned very firmly by the conviction we have in why what we have to say is so important to our audience. It’s the fuel that ignites our energy which our audience is longing to connect with.
Find something to say that you passionately believe in. If you can’t, send them an email with the information instead.
Don’t tell your audience everything you want them to know. Tell them everything they need to know. Don’t waste their time on the unimportant details; make sure that everything you say is relevant and personal to them and that the message you are sharing is designed to help them. Don’t focus on perfection or trying hard to impress your audience. Focus instead on connecting with them emotionally as well as intellectually. Focus on respecting and valuing their time by telling them something they don’t already know which can make a real difference to them that they will remember. Crafting a presentation which focuses exclusively on your audience will help you to avoid all other distractions allowing you to speak with zest and power.
For a great number of people, the prospect of presenting their ideas to colleagues and clients is extremely daunting. The antidote to much of that anxiety is gratitude. In other words, stop focusing on whether your audience will like you, whether you’ll freeze or if they’ll ask you a question you may not be able to answer. Be thankful for the opportunity to share your voice, have your say and to make a difference.
Instead of asking yourself ‘why me?’ tell yourself how fortunate you are to be in a position to have the attention of fellow human beings to express yourself.
When you take a moment to pause, breathe and reflect on what a privilege it is to speak everything changes. You get to become excited about the prospect of speaking and as you do so you get to enjoy it too; that’s zest.
One of the most beautiful, endearing and energising traits that great presenters have is generosity; they love to give.
High impact, mindful presenters relish the prospect of giving their audience gifts.
They give them the gift of:
Generosity isn’t an attribute reserved for those in a position of great power, wealth of expertise. It’s a component of mindfulness and starts with intention and attention.
How do you want your audience to feel and what do you need to pay attention to in order for them to feel it? The clearer you are on those two important questions the more likely you are to speak with zest.
A presentation of the facts on its own is arguably boring. Your audience want and need more, much more.
Remember the expression, ‘Variety is the spice of life’. If you do then you know it’s very true. Your audience will feel and experience your zest for your topic if you make the time and effort to breathe life into it. That means you have to make sure there is something in it for everyone. Don’t put people into boxes and make the very dangerous and damaging assumption that just because they are engineers, accountants or lawyers they only want the facts.
Yes, they want the numbers, evidence and data but they want those animated.
There are countless ways to bring the facts to life and it’s the presenters challenge to find the ones that will work best for themselves and their audience. Here are just a few of my favourites:
Powerful and mindfully designed visuals
Zest is the key to a high impact, mindful business presentation. It distinguishes the mediocre speaker from the exceptional one and variety and contrast allow us to embrace our topic and speak with the level of zest that every audience wants.
Zest is one of the most attractive qualities we have. It can lead change, inspire action and make the boring and ordinary extraordinary. Use it to ensure that your audience walk away from your presentations filled with vigour and vitality?
“If you have zest and enthusiasm you attract zest and enthusiasm. Life does give back in kind.” Norman Vincent Peale
I hope you have enjoyed the A to Z of Mindful Presenting as much as I have writing the series. We may have reached the end of this set but this is where the journey truly begins. I passionately believe that if you embrace the ideas and principles we have shared in the A to Z of Mindful Presenting in an active way your audience will be eternally grateful and you will be remembered for all of the right reasons.
If this article has inspired you to learn a little more about how effective your presentation skills are you may want to take a look at our presentation training and presentation coaching pages to see how we may be able to help you. You will also find a great deal of really helpful ‘free’ information in our Learning Centre.
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