Dispelling the “Your either have it or you don’t” myth
Some may argue that when it comes to presentation skills, “You either have it or you don’t.” Based on my two decades as a presentation coach, I respectfully and wholeheartedly disagree with that statement. I’ve worked with far too many people who have dramatically improved their presentation effectiveness.
Can anyone become an exceptional presenter? My answer is “Yes” for the vast majority of people who have a desire to improve, a formula to guide their progress and a willingness to develop the skills that comprise the “it” in “You either have it or you don’t.”
Look up the word exceptional in a thesaurus. Synonyms include: superior, outstanding, excellent, extraordinary and wonderful. Antonyms include: average, ordinary, run-of-the-mill and commonplace. Notice that the synonyms did not include: perfect, flawless, unblemished or error-free.
Have you attended any presentations lately? How many of those presentations would you describe as: “superior,” “outstanding,” “excellent,” “extraordinary” or “wonderful”? How many would you describe as: “average,” “ordinary,” “run-of-the-mill,” “commonplace” or “mundane”? What descriptive words do people use to describe your presentations?
No two people are exactly the same when it comes to presentation style, comfort level or expertise. Every presenter and every presentation is unique. It is clear, however, that your presentation skill level will affect your income and career track. It will affect your personal relationships and your ability to lead and persuade others. It will affect what job you land and what reputation you build.
OPEN UP! is an acronym representing the six characteristics shared by exceptional presenters. The secret is not just knowing the characteristics, but understanding how to incorporate them into your presentation style.
- Be Engaging
- Be Natural
- Understand the audience
OWN the ROOM – a term describing an actor who is so completely into character that she walks on stage with total confidence. She owns the room.
Owning the room is what will happen for you once you have developed an OPEN communication style. You will present with total confidence and maintain the highest level of professionalism, even in the most challenging circumstances. You will hold yourself accountable for the success or failure of your presentations. And you will do whatever it takes to ensure that your audience understands and remembers your message.