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The 11 Keys to Presentation Mastery to improve presentation skills: Key #05 – Passion

To improve presentation skills is fairly easy if you know what you’re doing.  Here is a series of the 11 Keys to Presentation Mastery which forms the foundation of #FILWP presentation skills training. 


The dictionary defines ‘passion’ as “an intense desire or enthusiasm for something.” (Not that we need a dictionary to tell us; you know passion when you see it, right?)
We might say that in the absence of passion, we’re left with ‘clinical’. Stark. Devoid of life. As dead as. Yawn.
Passion does not only give you energy, it also infuses your presentation and your audience with energy. (I’d go so far as to say that even if your audience is not particularly interested in your topic, your passion will carry the day and they might even enjoy it!)
When you allow your passion to shine through, you liven up what would typically be an average or boring presentation on mundane topics – corporate or otherwise.
Passion comes in different forms and does not have to be expressed by hollering, gesticulating wildly or jumping up and down. If you’re an introvert or you’re presenting to a conservative or reserved audience, excessive expression of passion is unlikely to engage them or do you any favours.
The thing with true passion is that it’s not about a singular way of expressing it. You know this for yourself: when you are passionate about something it’s like it runs in your veins and there is no way you can stop it from expressing itself in the way you walk, talk, hold yourself and engage with others. It affects not only the way you talk but even the words you use.
Most importantly, passion is an e-n-e-r-g-y that is senses by others, and will, as if by osmosis, also affect them and raise their energy levels.
We’re talking here about your passion for the topic of your presentation as well as for the act (and art) of presenting itself.
If you want to see passion in action, watch some Leo Buscaglia’s talks. Here is one example – there are many to find on the web.
The problem with passion is that many of us grew up with the idea that the more reserved we are, the better. In many of the organisations I’ve visited over the last 30 years I’ve found a cultural expectation to ‘Leave all emotions by the door on the way in, and please (please) pick it up on the way home’.
That limitation on self-expression is actually limiting the energy that could be used to (re)solve complex situations and problems. (The higher the energy, the more creativity we have access to.)
Now, back to you.
If you already present, just how passionate are you about your topic?
If you’re not, I recommend one of two options. Either get out (as quickly as you can) and stop presenting or GET passionate about the topic – because it’ll change e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.
There are some things (like microwave ovens) that I simply cannot get excited about. Therefore I cannot pull off a great presentation on the topic of microwave ovens.
There is a saying ‘fake it until you make it’. The next time that you present on something ordinary or even mundane, perhaps something you’ve presented on a million times and you can ramble it off in your sleep, ask yourself, “If I was passionate about this, how would it change things?”
And if you’re on the reserved side of the self-expression scale, the next time you present allow just a little bit more of your passion to express itself, and see what happens.
Without it, well, you do the math(s).