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The Two Elements of a Great Presenter
1. Respect (from the audience)
2. Love (to the audience)
There are no doubt important evolutionary reasons why this is true, but in my experience, every great presenter earns the respect of the audience (through her appearance, reputation, posture, voice, slides, introduction, etc.) and captures the attention of the audience by sending them love.
Love takes many forms. I love you enough to teach you this. I love you enough to help you. I love you enough to look you in the eye. Or, in the case of rock and roll presentations, I love you enough to want to engage in various acts with you, right now, backstage.
Margaret Thatcher was a great presenter, even though she had none of the glib charisma people expect from someone with that title. That's because people (even those that disagreed with her) respected her before she started, and they understood at every moment that her motivation was to motivate and improve the lives of those she was presenting to.
In the famous interrogation scene in Basic Instinct (link not included so no one yells at me), Sharon Stone does a brilliant presentation. She instantly earns (a sort of) respect from the cops and their undivided attention at the same time. She replaces love with sex, and it works.
Tony Robbins is considered an astounding presenter for a similar reason. His stage presence and reputation and energy and sheer size earn him respect, and his generosity and complete connection with the audience is received by them as love. The result is a connection far bigger than the content alone would account for.
If you have love but no respect, you're a lounge singer. Fail.
If you have respect, but no love, you're like one of the rare self-promotional talks at TED. Fail.
Consider this clip from Patton. In 28 seconds, George C. Scott delivers both.
When you create a presentation, think about what your status will be as you begin the presentation. What can you do to prewire, to earn more respect from the start? How can you be introduced? Lit? Miked? What can you wear? If your reputation doesn't precede you, how do you earn it?
Don't apologize at the beginning of the talk. For anything. Don't hide in the dark. Don't hide behind a wall of bullet points.
And then, as the talk (pitch/presentation/interview) begins, don't focus your energy or concern on yourself. It's not about you. It's about them.
The presenter who loves his audience the most, wins.
Copyright © - Seth Godin. - Reprinted with permission. Godin is author of ten books that have been bestsellers around the world and changed the way people think about marketing, change and work. His books have been translated into more than 20 languages, and his e-books are among the most popular ever published. - www.SethGodin.com. Geth Godin's BLOG.
If you would like to talk one-on-one with Larry James about issues related to this article, you are invited to arrange for a private coaching session by telephone. Go to Author & Speaker Coaching for specific details and fees.
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