If you want to be a great presenter, you will have to display some enthusiasm. We’re not talking about the kind of enthusiasm people display when they’re on game shows – hooting, shrieking, high-fiving, and even leaping up and flinging themselves at the host. When we are talking about enthusiasm in presentations and speeches, our interpretation is somewhat tame by comparison. The techniques, however, are a remarkably powerful public speaking tool.
So, what’s the difference?
Enthusiasm in presentations is displayed for the subject matter or the cause you discuss in your speech, and is displayed more as leashed energy than an assault on the eardrums. You want to create excited tension, not release it all at your listeners. So what can you do to express that critical enthusiasm in a way that communicates your message to your audience?
The easiest way is to actually feel it. Whatever the type of presentation you’re giving, you are probably motivated to have the audience accept your results and act on your recommendations. That motivation can easily be expressed as an enthusiastic approach to your message.
How do you express your enthusiasm? Energy. There are two ways you can communicate energy to your audience: your movement and your voice. If you are really excited about the material you are presenting, you will almost automatically display the energy in both. When you feel the energy, you move with conviction, you speak strongly, and your face is lit up.
What happens if you care about the material, but it doesn’t set off strobe lights for you? Time to deliberately instil the energy and enthusiasm. The easiest way to do this is to speed up the pace. Talk more quickly, and move more rapidly. The audience will be more interested because they think you are more interested. It isn’t quite as good as the real thing, but it will help you get by.
Words also help you express your enthusiasm. Once you have prepared the overall presentation, take the time to go over it and replace negative language with positive language. Don’t alter the facts, just the way you state them. For example, rather than, “The project was a failure,” try, “We should consider a different approach.”
And what if you really don’t have any enthusiasm for the subject? Our best public speaking tip on this is to find something about your subject that you do care about: the people involved, the overall picture, some tiny implication. Maybe even that your job depends on it. Focus on that. By thinking of something you care about, even if it’s not the subject matter itself, you can legitimately infuse your voice with enthusiasm. If there is absolutely nothing you can get excited about, it may be time to look for a new job or a new cause.
So long as you are giving presentations, remember these speaking techniques about enthusiasm. That enthusiasm is one of the key factors in bonding your audience to you and to your message.