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Want to be a better presenter? – Then don’t copy your colleagues

Be a better presenter - don't be a money

DON'T BE A MONKEY!

I write lots of posts about how to be a better presenter or speaker but am continually frustrated that I still see so many poor presentations.  Why is it that, despite being well into the 21st Century, many people still bore the pants of their audiences?

The number one reason for poor presentations is, as far as I can see, that human beings are hard-wired to learn by modelling other people.  Or to put it another way "Monkey see, Monkey do."

Now, this wouldn't be a problem if we had a wealth of role models to imitate, but we don't!   Yes, there are some amazing speakers out there - just take a look at some of the Best TED talks on the web.   But, we have more poor exemplars, particularly within organisations and most people unconsciously model those closest to them.

It's time to wake up!

To be a better speaker, be careful who you choose to copy! There are so many poor role models all around you that it's scarily easy to pick up their bad habits without even noticing it.   The guy or girl who mumbles their way through an apparently pointless speech while overloading their audience with text-heavy slides or unreadable charts is not who you should be copying - trust me!

To Be A Better Presenter Look For The Outliers!

You need to become more choosy when it comes to role models, and where better to start than the people whose presentations stand out from the crowd.  The people who have the courage to do it differently.  The people who grab and hold your attention from the start, and leave you wanting to carry out their recommendations.

  • Perhaps they don't use any slides at all?
  • Maybe they open with a question, a statement or a story that arouses your curiosity?
  • Perhaps they stand away from the lectern and interact directly with you, their audience as if you mattered?
  • Maybe they have a clear purpose to their presentation that goes beyond not making a fool of themselves?
  • Perhaps they make the relevance of their messages obvious from the start?

These are the people who you should analyse and emulate if you want to be a better presenter

Be A better Presenter - Learn How to Analyse What The Best Speakers Do Differently

Once you have found a more appropriate role model, then next thing you need to do is get curious about what they do differently.  You need to learn to look at the fine detail of their speaking style, including things like the content of their talks, they way they structure their messages and how they use their voice and body language to bring those messages to life.  You'll find it tough to start with, but it get's easier with time.   You can find lots of practical tips on how to be a better presenter in my new book The Presenter's Edge which is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.

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