Our chief instructor, Mike Mandel, is known for being a very competent speaker. His keynote speech at Hypnothoughts Live 2019 makes it very clear what a fascinating presenter he is. At some point, we attempted to figure out what exactly made him so awesome at presenting, and we came up with three things: the 3 E’s to becoming a fascinating presenter.
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We call it the 3 E’s because all of them start with the letter E. They are the fundamental elements of a great presentation. We don’t mean to say that there aren’t any other variables involved. Instead, we’re saying that without these three components, it’ll be very difficult to make a good presentation that engages the audience.
Let’s dive into them
As with most other skills, experience is bound to be one of the key components of what makes a presentation good. Mike has been a stage hypnotist for decades and has given countless keynote speeches and presentations to corporate groups and other types of audiences. The guy is just very experienced!
Of course, experience isn’t magically obtained. It needs to be built … So go freaking do it!
A person needs to get out of their comfort zone and go up on stage to obtain the experience that will eventually make them a fascinating speaker. Which means if you’re struggling with presentations, one of the best ways to get better at it is by doing more presentations.
Duh … Easier said than done, right? Getting out of one’s comfort zone is never that simple.
Thankfully, there’s an easy way you can go up on stage right now and act as if you already have tons of experience. I’ve just described it to you.
Confused? Read the last paragraph again.
We’re talking about the ‘As If’ reframe. It is one of the most efficient ways you can gain a lot of experience fast. Just act as though you already have it! Watch the video below to understand how the ‘As If’ reframe works, or just keep on reading.
By acting as if you’re already experienced at giving presentations, fully persuading yourself that you already have that skill and taking on this persona; your body language, vocal tone and every aspect of your communication will be completely congruent. You’ll feel confident and give the audience the impression that you already are an experienced speaker. The more you do it, the better at it you’ll get.
Even though nonverbal communication usually matters a lot more than the actual words being said, that doesn’t mean you can just say anything in a presentation and expect it to be good. To be a good presenter, you have to know your subject well.
Don’t Be a Duck
(Yes, you read that right)
Have you ever observed ducks and how they behave? They’re one of the oddest birds in nature, especially in their inability to be any good at anything they do.
They can fly, but only for short distances. They can walk and run, but in a clumsy and funny-looking fashion. They can swim, but only very slowly and on the surface.
The duck has all the abilities that an eagle, an ostrich and a penguin have. The only problem is, when compared to its feathered peers, the duck is awful at all of them. It can’t fly as high as an eagle, it can’t run as fast as an ostrich and calling what it does “swimming” seems inappropriate considering what the penguin is capable of.
The point is: you can’t be good at everything. Everyone has a different expertise, and you need to decide what yours is. Pick a topic you’re interested in and study it thoroughly. You must be a specialist at what you’re talking about. It’s going to make your presentation worthwhile.
If you attempt to be a competent speaker at every subject, you’ll end up mediocre at best.
As Olivia Fox Cabane puts in her best-selling book, The Charisma Myth, “attention is a precious resource, just like time and money.” Any time an audience is devoting their time and attention to your presentation, they’re making an investment they expect to be compensated for. You must deliver value in your speech. That could be (and usually is) by giving them useful information that they can apply, but also through entertainment.
A boring presentation is the last thing you need. It’ll make people leave with the impression that your entire speech was terrible even if you’ve provided relevant information. Find ways to make your presentation interesting in a way that fits well with your personality.
Use strong eye contact, throw in a bit of humour every now and then and do things that will draw people’s attention. Hypnotists such as Mike Mandel, for example, are fascinating. They inspire wonder and curiosity. But magicians do that too, and so do motivational speakers and some politicians.
Watch fascinating presenters and observe what they do to engage their audience so you can model their techniques. This doesn’t mean you have to hypnotize someone or make a rabbit come out of a hat to be entertaining. There are obvious limits to what you can do depending on the situation, but use the same principles to make the presentation enjoyable and fun.
In a nutshell: just be you, but a little better 😉