Present Like a Rock Star

Once upon a time I was a musician and between the ages of 15-25, had two bands that performed at weddings and functions. One of the frequent requests I receive is for tips on speaking and I believe that conducting presentations is very similar to speaking so it probably applies to all of my readers.

The only difference between presenting and speaking is usually the size of your audience. While you may be presenting to one, two, three or as many as 10 prospects, you will usually speak to audiences of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 or more. The size of your audience should never dictate whether you stand or sit, you should always stand; but the size of the audience should dictate how dynamic you are. By dynamic I’m talking about volume of your voice, how animated you become and how much of a show you put on. The larger the audience, the more of a performance they should get.

You live and breath your subject matter. You own your expertise. You wouldn’t be presenting or speaking if you didn’t have this command of your topic. So I always wonder why people need notes to talk about what they know so well. After all, you don’t need notes to have a chat with your children or grand children, you’ve lived the experiences all your lives.

Performing brings us back to the the music. I have always viewed speaking and presenting as very similar to performing in a band. We had an opening song and a closing song and the middle part of the show consisted of a certain number of songs, but the titles and genre would change from show to show to show. Speaking and presenting should have an attention grabbing opening, and a power-packed closing, and the middle should consist of a certain number of short nuggets, relative to your topic, expertise, audience, issues or requests. The nuggets are akin to songs that the band already knows. You should be able to call upon your nuggets at a moment’s notice, without notes.

Meteorologists do this each day on television. They don’t use the teleprompter, they have slides, and they follow a format. The opening and closing “topics” remain the same and the middle pieces change depending on circumstances. They open with a weather headline and close with the multiple day forecast that corresponds to their channel number. The middle provides various details that they can swap in and out as they like.

Dump the notes – you don’t need them.

Create a format that never changes – you’ll be more confident.

Develop an opening and a closing – you’ll be more dynamic.

Put on a show – you’ll be more memorable.

Always stand-up because regardless of where you present or speak, whether it be at someone’s desk, in a conference room, or in an auditorium, you’re always on stage.

For more information on my rules and tips for giving compelling presentations, refer to the chapter on Running Home in Baseline Selling.

To make your presentations more effective, use free Powerpoint templates such as those provided by 24Slides.