7 Habits Of Exceptional Presenters

5 min read · 6 years ago


Sir Ken Robinson

I’ve often heard it said that ‘perception is more important than reality.’ Whether you agree with such an assertion or not I think it’s reasonable to at least accept the premise that we all see things differently. Every day at Mindful Presenter we help people from all walks of life to become more powerful and effective speakers and to achieve that we need to know what it is they believe it takes to be a great presenter.

Each time we ask our delegates that question we end up with an entire wall filled with Post-it notes each containing a single competency or characteristic which tells us that most people believe it takes a great deal to be an exceptional presenter.

This article isn’t about what all of our delegates write on those Post-its, it’s what most of them don’t write.Below are 7 behaviours that exceptional presenters rely on each time they speak and they are within the reach of all of us.

1. Courage

It’s a risky business standing in front of any audience as we can never be certain they will like us, agree with us or even believe what it is we have to say. That means we should give credit to anyone who has the courage to stand and speak.That said it’s not enough to simply stand and tell your story, it takes even greater courage to dare to be different, take people on a journey, and help them to feel something.

That courage comes from a belief that it’s simply not good enough to stand and deliver; to do what everyone else does when they speak. The courageous presenter will challenge the status quo, admonish mediocrity and do whatever it takes to engage and inspire their audience.

2. Presence

Have you ever met someone for the first time and at the end of your exchange you said to yourself or others ‘that person has real presence’? If you have then you’ll know what I mean although you’ll also know that it’s not so easy to explain. At Mindful Presenter, we believe that presence lies in the speaker being in the room with their audience and not in their heads.

That means they know how to breathe, focus, and give the whole of them to their audience.They command the space they have, they consciously use their emotions and they seek to have a conversation rather than tell people things.

Presence is about literally being in the room, in the moment, and you can’t do that if your focus is on you. Arrive at least an hour early before you speak and take a good few minutes to just be in the room. Don’t do anything but just stand there and become a part of the room before your audience arrives.

3. Humility

The exceptional presenter cares far more about their audience than they do themselves.  They don’t allow the fact that they have the platform and ears of the audience to make them feel they are better than anyone else. They take their message seriously but don’t take themselves so seriously.

The Mindful Presenter believes that it’s always an honour and privilege to have the attention of any audience and they demonstrate that with appreciation and respect. Each week we see two different extremes in presenting. Firstly, we see the nervous presenter who struggles to communicate effectively because their anxiety gets the better of them. Then we see also see the arrogant presenter where it’s all about bravado, self- promotion, how much they know, and how hard they’ve worked.

Audiences don’t want to see either of those, what they want is someone who values them, genuinely wants to make a difference to their lives and will help them to feel something.

4. Emotional Intelligence

For the presenter, emotional intelligence is simply having a high level of awareness of the impact they have on people each time they speak. The exceptional presenters know exactly where their strengths are and they play to those strengths.

At the same time, they are always trying to understand and correct their weaknesses and find other opportunities to connect with their audience whilst retaining their authenticity. For the presenter, emotional intelligence is also about having the ability and taking the time to step back to understand exactly what it is that drives both you and your audience emotionally.

It’s extremely difficult to claim to know others and put yourself in their shoes if you haven’t taken the time and effort to consciously reflect on who you are as a speaker.

5. Creativity

If you were to put aside the reality that far too many presenters read their slides and lack energy and passion. The only other problem is that most business presentations are largely the same. You can’t just present the facts, data and logic and call yourself an engaging speaker, it doesn’t work that way. You can send your audience an email if that’s all it really takes to communicate.

The fact is that the spoken word elicits a far greater effect than the written word, especially when communicated differently and the exceptional presenters know that creativity is the key.

Tell them stories, something they haven’t heard before, use props, videos or volunteers, do whatever it takes to engage their right brain as well as their left.  People like surprises, suspense, and drama. They enjoy good humor and love metaphors so take advantage of their need to connect with you and dare to be different.

6. Generosity

The exceptional presenter is generous to a fault; they give everything to their audience including themselves. I really do mean everything:

  • Passion
  • Energy
  • Enthusiasm
  • Respect
  • Love
  • Focus
  • Value

7. Value

Let’s look at value a little closer, after all that really has to be what it’s all about.Why would any presenter take 10 minutes or 2 hours of an audience’s precious time to address them unless they had something to say of significant value to them?

In our experience, one of the greatest mistakes presenters make is in believing that their job is to simply impart knowledge or information. It’s not only a big mistake it’s at the heart of the considerable problem we still see in business presenting today.

It seems acceptable to continue the trend business presenters initiated following the advent of Power Point some 30 years ago; to simply shares slides showing how much they know on a subject. You will never see such a thing on the exceptional presenter’s agenda.

For them, it’s all about value and difference.

The biggest thing they have on their agenda is how what they have to say will really help and make a tangible difference to their audience.

What value do you add each time you speak?

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: 7 Habits Of Exceptional Presenters

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