Master Your Message Blog

A Phenomenally Great Presenter?

There’s a great discussion just starting up in a Linkedin Group, called, “Great Communicators! Effective Presenting & Powerpoint.” If you’re a member of Linkedin and not a member of this group, you might think about joining it. It seems to me to be the Linkedin discussion group about presenting in public with the most thought-provoking questions. If you are a member, click here for the link.

This particular discussion centers around the question:

“What is your best tip to someone who wants to move from being a good presenter to being a phenomenally great one? What do you see as the defining component?”

The discussion has quickly moved from answering this question to a greater, more difficult question to answer, I think: “What constitutes a great, or phenomenal presenter?”

The original question, as far as I’m concerned, is an easy one to answer. As Malcolm Gladwell might say, related to his relatively recent book,
“Outliers: The Story of Success,” just get out there and do it, and do it, and do it – until you have 10,000 hours under your belt. That amount of time working at any one task, he believes, makes you an expert. I agree with Mr. Gladwell.

When I first began speaking professionally (not too long ago), I decided that I wanted to improve my platform skills by contracting with a public seminar company. I successfully applied to the largest ones in the U.S., where you go out on a weekly “swing.” You present the same material (theirs) for five days in a row, six hours a day, each day in a different city. Gradually, with enough feedback from the audience, you get better and better and better.

It’s like playing the piano. You develop skills and techniques (that become more natural through practice) that make you a very good presenter … or you don’t last long. So, the answer to the first question is: Practice over and over again until it comes more naturally. It’s like playing the piano, or developing any similar skill.

Now, while this will make you (in most cases) a very good speaker, the greater, more challenging question to me is the second one: “What constitutes a great, or phenomenal presenter?”

I think we have to be very clear about what we’re talking about here. We’re not concentrating on the content as we are on the speaker’s ability to deliver that content in a compelling, perhaps inspirational manner. Think about that old saying, something like, “A true, born salesman can sell anything.” It’s about performance, yes, but there’s a gift there, I think.

So, let me throw this out there …

What constitutes a great, or phenomenal presenter?

There may be many different answers to many different people. Let me know that you think.

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