What Does it Mean to be Enthusiastic When Public Speaking?
Enthusiasm demonstrates your passion and excitement for the content that you’re presenting.
Enthusiasm shows that you believe in your content. You have conviction in what you are saying.
Enthusiastic and passionate presenters are more impactful and more persuasive.
But there’s a challenge: genuine enthusiasm is not always possible.
Sometimes you have to present information that you’re really not passionate about, or you just don’t feel connected to.
(In my coaching work, I’ve seen this come up especially with management consultants, among other fields.)
Can you still demonstrate enthusiasm as a presenter even if the content is kind of boring?
It just requires you to shift your mental focus.
Here are three ways to get more enthusiastic when presenting uninteresting content.
First, Get Enthusiastic About Your Colleagues
Maybe you have a great team and you love the people that you work with.
You can leverage that loyalty and pride in your team, and bring that energy into your presentation.
Open your presentation with an acknowledgement:
“Before we begin, I just want to acknowledge the amazing contributions that Jennifer and Sanjay have been making on this project. It’s been really great working with them.”
You can also throw in short anecdotes about your team, or refer to specific ideas that they have come up with.
If someone made a funny comment or a humorous reference recently, mention that in the course of the presentation.
Even a team member’s personal victory (like getting married, or having a baby, or graduating from an MBA program), can be great to mention in a presentation.
It livens up the energy in the room and increases your energy level.
Sprinkling these tidbits throughout the presentation can easily increase your level of enthusiasm.
Second, Get Enthusiastic About Your Clients, Users or Business Partners
If you know your work is making a difference for people, that may be something that you’re really proud of.
If you’re excited by your impact, express that to the audience as you present.
Even if the actual data or project updates are not interesting by themselves, you can still liven up your speech by reminding the audience of the larger impact you’re having.
Did you have a great conversation recently with a client? Have you seen a glowing customer review?
Channel that positivity, and incorporate those stories into your presentation.
“A few weeks ago, I had a great call with Cindy on the client side. She’s really excited about the new product updates, and she mentioned her team has already been able to shorten their development lifecycle because of them.”
Even taking just 30 seconds out of your presentation to mention that story can totally change the energy of the presentation.
Describing the human impact livens up otherwise dry, boring information.
Third, Get Enthusiastic About the Work in General
Why did you get into this field in the first place? Why are you in this industry? Something about it is interesting or exciting to you.
Even if you’re thinking “the only reason I’m in this field is for the money,” you can leverage that.
Maybe you’re pumped about the fact that you can pay your bills.
Maybe you can finally afford the six bedroom house that you’ve had your eye on for the last three years. That’s meaningful to you and your family.
Other than money, you might be genuinely enthusiastic about the process of how the work is created.
Maybe you love the challenge of solving problems. Maybe you enjoy strategic thinking.
It could be the design process, conducting research and understanding end users, discovering new insights in the data, or launching innovative products.
Remind yourself of that larger purpose. Focus on it. And incorporate that perspective into your presentation.
Tell the audience “this is one of my favorite aspects of what I do” or “next up, we’ll look at a part of the process that I personally find really fascinating.”
That enthusiasm and emotion will come through.
All of a sudden, the “boring” statistics, news, updates, plans, and timelines will feel way more interesting.
Style vs Substance
Remember this key distinction in communication.
Your substance is what you’re actually saying. Your style is how you’re saying it.
Your style is critical. Your enthusiasm, personality, and passion are critical.
Style is not tangential or unimportant. Style is an integral part of the presentation.
Your impact is not just informational, but emotional.
The emotions are part of the experience that your audience receives from you.
So as you rehearse and prepare your presentation, look for opportunities where you can bring in that personality and enthusiasm.
A few simple changes will make your presentation a lot more interesting.
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