I recently got a question from a client who gives a lot of virtual presentations. She wanted to know how to effectively present material that she wasn’t particularly interested in.
First, let me say it is really hard to get your audience to care about what you’re saying if you don’t care about it. Whatever you’re talking about needs to be the most interesting in your life while you’re speaking. And don’t try to fake it, because that will only get you so far.
You must figure out a genuine way to connect to the material, even if it’s only for the short term, and go all in on presenting it. For the duration of your speech, or presentation, or video, what you are saying has to be the single most interesting thing on planet earth. Even if you’ve said it 1,000 times. Even if you’re in a bad mood, or you don’t feel well. You owe it to yourself, to the material, and most importantly to the audience to commit to every detail of that story.
Do you think Billy Joel likes singing Piano Man every night, after all these decades? Probably not. He’s probably really sick of that song. But every time I’ve seen him live – which is a lot of times – he kills it. Full energy, playing the piano and the harmonica, belting out the lyrics, getting the crowd fired up. And this is a guy who’s over 70 years old. He is an incredible performer because he is fully present and fully engaged in his songs. You may be thinking, how is my Zoom video conference about third quarter earnings as exciting as Billy singing Piano Man at Madison Square Garden. The answer is: it had better be that exciting, even if it’s only for the duration of your presentation.
Committing to the material serves so many purposes: it engages the audience, it inspires them, it takes you to the next level as a presenter, and it helps reduce your nerves because the more you focus on the content, the less you’ll notice your own performance. Get engaged, and stay engaged. And bring the enthusiasm.
Now, that doesn’t mean, be manic, scream, flail your arms wildly. That’s usually too much, especially if it doesn’t match the content. But even if you’re telling a somber story, you can still do so with energy and passion.
The audience will always feed off your energy, even in a virtual setting. So, bring your “A” game and love the material you’re presenting.
If you’d like to work on your virtual presentation skills, just reach out to me here.
Have a great day!