Do you ever worry about boring your audience?
Professional actors have a lot to teach presenters and speakers because they know how to captivate an audience - no matter what is going on in a scene.
If you want to deliver a captivating presentation or speech, you don’t have to become an actor – but it does help to think like one.
Let’s take a look behind the curtain to learn two questions actors use to keep things interesting.
Question #1 - What's at stake?
When preparing for a scene, great actors get crystal clear about what is at stake. To do this an actor learns to ask:
“What am I fighting for?”
In other words, why does this matter? What is there to gain? What is there to lose?
The same is true for every great presenter. If you want to be unforgettable, you have to understand and communicate the stakes.
But most of us make presentations on topics that aren’t sexy or exciting, so it can be challenging to find something worth fighting for.
My client Mia felt the same way when her boss asked her to make a presentation on new accounting guidelines.
Yes, new accounting guidelines. Snooze. Zzzzzzz. (No offense to my accountant friends, but Mia was worried about boring her audience to tears.)
So I asked Mia, “What are you fighting for here? Why were the guidelines changed?”
“Well, we updated the guidelines to help people to get more value from their data. The old guidelines were cumbersome, but the new ones are so much easier to use.”
BINGO! Now Mia knows what’s at stake - creating more value and simplicity for her colleagues.
Question #2 - What is your objective?
Professional actors are really clear about objectives.
A well-trained actor is always after something and this quest provides much of the energy that fuels a scene. It could be attention, love, money, revenge or fame. The possibilities are endless.
Presenters need to know their objectives too - for the very same reasons. Objectives FUEL your presentation.
To get crystal clear on the objective for your next presentation, answer this:
“As a result of my presentation, the audience will…”
Get specific! A presentation about everything is a presentation about nothing.
Back to Mia and our accounting example. Mia's objective became:
As a result my presentation the audience will....hear the top 3 accounting changes and how each new change can impact their business success.
Drum roll please....
Here’s how Mia thought like an actor to make accounting guidelines interesting for her audience:
She created the stakes: “You have important business decisions to make, and you need easy access to your data in order to make informed decisions. Many of you have been asking for a simpler way to access and leverage your data."
Then she made her objective clear: "Today I will cover the top 3 guideline changes you’ll see right away, and the significant benefits you'll experience as a result…”
This quick, targeted presentation was not boring at all.
So think like an actor and you’ll rock your next presentation, just like Mia did...even when you worry that the topic has the potential to be a little, well, boring.