Have you ever had the buzz of watching a genuinely charismatic speaker in action? Have you ever wished you could polish your presentation skills to inject some of that charisma into your presentations?
In this first part of a two-part series we will look at the first five of nine ways you can improve your presentation skills and make your talks and presentations more charismatic.
In writing Leadership Charisma and researching what made charismatic leaders so effective we spoke to more than 400,000 people about what drove their perception of charisma – and charismatic leadership all came down to behavior. All charismatic leaders share certain behaviors that engage their people and make them willing to invest more of themselves in their work.
Well, charismatic speakers also share certain behaviors in common – behaviors that maximize their perceived charisma. And, if you want to be a more charismatic speaker, all you have to do is make these behaviors a standard part of the way you prepare for and deliver you talks and presentations.
Here are the first five steps to injecting more charisma into your presentation skills:
1. Plan to Be Confident
Plan & rehearse. If you know your topic inside out, have carefully prepared your content, and have rehearsed the talk several times before show-time you’ll know that (little or) nothing can go wrong. The confidence that comes from that knowledge will ensure that you’ll walk tall and strong as you take the stage – confident of delivering an excellent speech.
Don’t leave confidence to chance – plan to be confident.
2. Look Like a Ten
It’s not necessary to be handsome or gorgeous for an audience to see charisma in you. However, on your personal 1-10 scale of how well you can look, make sure to give every audience 10 every time. Show them the respect of looking your best. Be impeccably turned out in every aspect of personal grooming.
3. Exude Energy & Enthusiasm
From the moment you walk on stage you must exude energy and must come across as enthusiastic for the opportunity to speak on your planned topic – stride out with a bounce in your step that shows how excited you are to be there.
Enthusiasm is highly contagious – if you’re enthusiastic they’ll be enthusiastic. A large component of charisma is energy and enthusiasm.
4. Warm the Room with a Smile
Turn on your best charismatic smile (‘Duchenne’ smile) and you immediately effect the brain chemistry of anyone who comes into contact with that smile. This not only lights your own brain up with the feel good chemicals, Serotonin (raises your mood) and Oxytocin (the ‘bonding hormone’), but it also has the same effect upon those who observe your smile – we are all programmed to respond to others’ smiles in this way (Emotional Contagion). As your audience’s brains are flooded with those same chemicals they find themselves smiling even more genuinely – and the resulting injection of even more of those chemicals into their brains reinforces this positive feedback loop and amplifies the feel good factor for all. When you can make people feel good like this they perceive you as having charisma.
The ‘charismatic smile’ is the simplest of presentation skills and it can dramatically change the emotional temperature in a room.
5. Use Your Body Effectively
Every member of your audience has developed an unconscious ability to read a huge amount of information from the body language of those around them and, when your words and your body language are not consistent, people will ALWAYS unconsciously trust your body language first.
Walk tall, straight, and with deliberate purpose as you move around the stage. Watch your posture throughout – an upright posture communicates confidence and ability. Keep your body language and gestures open and always provide your audience with an unobstructed view of your solar plexus.
I’ll be publishing a post on charismatic body language soon – check back frequently or sign up for my RSS stream to be alerted when it is published.
In the final part of this two-part series I will look at the roles that eye contact, positive language, storytelling and correct use of your voice play in building the presentation skills that will make you a more charismatic speaker.