Personality is a crucial component of a good presentation, whether it takes place face-to-face or remotely.
It can be the decisive factor delivering something that compels, persuades and hooks your audience.
“Let your personality shine through” is advice often given about presentations.
But it is not as easy as that, particularly when many of us find being asked to give a presentation daunting.
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Additionally, many have apprehensions about being on camera when presenting remotely.
And consequently, many people leave their personalities behind when they present.
So, how can you overcome these hurdles and make the stage (either real or virtual) your own, and add personality to your presentation?
Here are some tips from our presentation skills training courses:
Tell your story – everyone has tales to tell.
And using them in presentations has many advantages.
Personal stories, examples and anecdotes about your experiences are vital for bringing presentations to life, especially when the subject matter is dull.
They help capture the audience’s attention and make messages memorable.
And they add credibility and stimulate emotions.
Crucially, they also help the audience see the human side of the person talking to them. And they begin to build a bond.
Telling a story at the beginning of your presentation will not only start to add personality but will also draw the audience into the rest of what you want to say.
Just make sure the stories are relevant. And don’t let them go on for too long – remember audiences have limited attention spans.
You can go further with your personal stories and share vulnerabilities, mistakes you have made and what keeps you awake at night.
It takes bravery. And many people are reluctant to reveal their struggles, preferring to focus on success stories.
But we all have vulnerabilities and stories where we have had to overcome adversity.
Sharing them makes speakers relatable, human and memorable. And it builds emotional connections.
Many public speakers and presenters like to have a script. It provides reassurance they will not forget what to say or that they will run dry.
But scripts tend to strip presentations and speeches of personality, life and spontaneity.
When presenters resort to reading aloud, they become rigid, robotic and dull. And they break the bond they have with the audience.
And the whole thing can feel forced and uncomfortable.
Presenters should avoid scripts and instead use notes that guide and prompt you through your presentations structure, focusing on the main themes and messages you want to get across.
It could be as simple as having a few bullet points or headlines on cards that remind you of what should come next.
Enthusiasm and passion are essential presentation ingredients.
They show you believe in what you are discussing.
If you show enthusiasm for your subject, it is more likely your audience will feel the same way.
And when you are enthusiastic, you are more likely to include those stories that convey personality.
But tread carefully.
If you overdo the enthusiasm, there is a risk you will come across as fake. And that will annoy your audience and detract from what you want to say.
Equally, there may be times when you have to present a subject you don’t naturally feel enthusiastic about.
And unless you inject some passion, you won’t build a connection with the audience.
Humour can work brilliantly in a presentation. People will remember when you made them laugh.
And some well-judged humour can help inject personality into what you are discussing.
It doesn’t mean you necessarily need to tell jokes. The humour and light-heartedness could come instead from the stories you share.
However, it is not a stand-up routine, so don’t overdo the humour and attempt to emulate your favourite comedian.
And test your attempts at being funny beforehand. Run it past a colleague and ensure you are confident the audience will get the humour.
During our presentation skills training courses, we always stress the value of preparation and practice. We can’t overstate their importance.
The more you get to know your presentation and the more confidence you feel about delivering it, the more comfortable you will feel.
And when you feel confident, you are more likely to spot opportunities to add stories, tell jokes, ad-lib, and let your personality shine through.
This can be tricky, particularly if you feel nervous giving a presentation.
But it is much better to be yourself than to try and emulate someone regarded as an excellent public speaker.
Sure, there are bits we can learn from watching those who excel at public speaking.
But people will see through you if you try to mimic another person’s presentation style. And if they think you are not being authentic, you will not build connections with the audience.
You may not believe it, but with the right public speaking skills and practice, you will not only add personality to your presentation but also feel more confident being yourself.
These are just a few ways you can inject personality into your presentations. Our expert tutors can work with you to help you develop these techniques and build your confidence with a bespoke presentation skills training course.
We also have an on-demand online Presentation Skills and Personal Impact Skills course that will guide you through how to appear relaxed and confident and deliver impactful and memorable content when you next present.
Media First are media and communications training specialists with more than 35 years of experience. We have a team of trainers, each with decades of experience working as journalists, presenters, communications coaches and media trainers.
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