We have been exploring the qualities of great presenters, starting with A and on our way to Z. Each week we list one or several attributes of great presenters and communicators, and suggest some ways you can build that characteristic in your own speaking.
If you want to play along, suggest your own great words starting with that letter of the week. Better yet, help me out by suggesting a word for the next letter of the alphabet! And let me know how you are using these ideas to build your own habits and characteristics for great speaking.
Dynamic: having life, energy, passion about your topic. Nothing can replace this! If you are worried about remembering your lines, this can rob all your energy and leave you flat. Audiences today have very little tolerance for a speaker just reading the slides. Break away. Tell a story. Talk about the problem, or your solution, or your audience. Breathe life into your presentation. Ahhhh! Much better!
Daring: if everyone else just reads through the boring bullets, are you really going to do the same thing? You could, of course. But why not be a little bit daring? Hide some of your slides. Edit out some of the detail. Add in a few great graphics. Photos of the team or the customer’s plant. Hit the “B” key while presenting a get a black screen, turning the attention off the slides and onto you. Now that’s daring.
Distinctive. What is your unique presentation strength? What makes you special? If it is your expressive voice, play that up. If it is your ability to tell stories, weave them in. If you are really good at humor—and you might want to ask someone to validate this—sprinkle some in. If you are great at facilitating a lively discussion, feature that in your presentations. No one can be you, so find what makes you distinctively different, and run with it.
How have your embodied these attributes in your speaking? What results or outcomes have you enjoyed? What cautionary tales would you add to those willing to be daring, distinctive and dynamic?
What other words come to mind for the letter D?