It is a performance, not a reading.

The 4th P in Presentation is to Perform. Clearly this is the most important. Even having perfected all of the preceding parts of your presentation if you simply stand on the stage and speak as though in conversation to the person sat beside you at dinner, the overall value of your presentation (p cubed) will not be as high as it might. You need to perform.

The immediate response to such a suggestion is, “Oh, I’m not a performer.” You are. We all perform different roles at different times as our lives require. Some roles are more obvious and distinct than others; parent, boss, child, customer but even within our job there are many different facets that require us to behave in a different manner. As a surgeon for instance, the woman who meets the patient in clinic will be different from the woman who takes control of the trauma team in the face of an emergency and different again from the woman who meets the family after the emergency to explain what happens and different again to the woman who counsels a team member through their distress. Each is a different role and presenting is no lesser or different a role.

We need to recognise those characteristics that a good presenter has and adopt them. We must ennunciate more clearly our words, project to the back of the room, speak more slowly and more precisely, use changes in pitch and tone and volume and pace to dramatic effect, wider and more expressive actions and facial expressions, take account of reactions of the audience and play to their emotions. 

To some this appears natural. No-one though is a born actor. Like every other skill, this is learnt and improved over time. Recognising that you are allowed and actually required to be “bigger,” “more expressive” and “more expansive” than your spoken self is the only permission you need and is the beginning of even better presentations.

It is a performance, not a reading.

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