How To Be a Charismatic Presenter: Part Three


Yesterday, we examined Dr. Nick Morgan and Ethos3’s ideas about charisma in How To Be a Charismatic Presenter: Part One.  We also looked at Garr Reynolds’ take on charisma and the importance of preparation in How To Be a Charismatic Presenter: Part Two.  From my research in charisma and speech delivery, I believe you (yes, you!) can be a charismatic speaker if you follow 5 key guidelines.


You cannot be charismatic if you’re spending all of your speaking time concentrating on the next thing that will come out of your mouth.  Preparation involves research, brainstorming, planning, organizing, re-organizing, and lots and lots of practicing.  Yes, preparation is a lot of work, and as we learned from How To Be a Charismatic Presenter: Part Two, Garr Reynolds believes that the result of a billion hours of preparation is a presentation that looks easy and effortless.  In slide:ology, Duarte estimates that preparation time should total 36-90 hours.  Why?  Preparation involves knowing your audience and identifying their core needs.  Preparation also involves amazing speech content.  How do you create strong content?  Start by reading Nancy Duarte’s resonate; the Heath brothers’ Made to Stick; and Frank Luntz’s Win.


Thank you Nancy Duarte for 5 Rules for Creating Great Presentations:


The goal with audience analysis is to treat your audience as king.  Don’t make your presentation about you; make it about them!  Analyzing your audience creates a situation where you listen to your audience, and your audience listens to you.  The only way to develop charisma is to develop an environment where idea sharing can happen.

In “12 steps to becoming a charismatic presenter,” Ellen Finkelstein says, “Part of that riveting quality of a charismatic speaker comes from the relationship created with the audience” (Source).  To start building that relationship, Duarte encourages all of us to fill out an Audience Needs Worksheet before every presentation we give.  After all, Duarte says, “The audience didn’t come to see you, they came to see what you can do for them. If you fill out this audience persona slide, it will give you insights into how to present in a way that will resonate with your audience” (Source).


After you’ve prepared, and after you’ve sufficiently analyzed your audience, you can focus on your delivery.  Delivery is where charisma lives, but you can’t get to delivery without proper preparation and audience analysis.

In The Naked Presenter, Garr Reynolds emphasizes P.U.N.C.H., an introduction that is personal; unexpected; novel; challenging; and/or humorous.  After you connect with a strong P.U.N.C.H., it’s time to let your personality shine.  Reynolds explains that a connection is made with the audience through your presence and projection.  To learn more about connecting Naked Presenter-style, purchase Reynolds’ insightful text here.  It is a must-read if you want to develop charisma as a speaker.  Ellen Finkelstein’s article on how to be a charismatic presenter emphasizes the importance of connection.  In fact, all of her 12 steps refer to connecting.  Learn how to apply these 12 steps by reading and applying the wisdom from The Naked Presenter.


It isn’t enough to connect in your speech’s introduction.  After developing that strong relationship with your audience, it is your job as presenter to engage them throughout the entire speech.  Engagement is a core quality of charisma.  If your speech is delightful, fun, passionate, and emotional, your audience will sit spellbound on the edge of their seats.  Engaging an audience in a charismatic way takes practice and effort, trial and error, but if you know what your audience needs in order to be engaged, you can deliver.  In The Naked Presenter, Garr Reynolds specifies three ways to engage an audience: through passion, proximity, and play.

After reading about how to engage, study the masters to see how they apply Reynolds’ principles.  The best place to study charisma as it applies to engagement is  One of my favorite TED Talks is Benjamin Zander on music and passion.  Watch him engage his audience for nearly 20 minutes:


Zander engages by using Reynolds’ ideas of passion, proximity, and play.  He engages so well that his speech appears effortless, natural, authentic, and, of course, charismatic.


Psychology Today says, “Personal charisma is a constellation of complex and sophisticated social and emotional skills. They allow charismatic individuals to affect and influence others at a deep emotional level, to communicate effectively with them, and to make strong interpersonal connections” (Source).  Since charisma is such a complex “constellation” of skills, you’ll only be able to develop them all if you continue to learn and to study.

Not all of Oprah’s television episodes are passionate, and not all of Barack Obama’s speeches are charismatic.  Some are downright boring.  When you deliver presentations, not all of them will display your charisma all of the time.  With dedication and persistence, however, you will fully develop your public speaking charisma.

Great leaders are very often great public speakers.  This is because they know the secret: charisma and effective public speaking go hand in hand.  Once you learn the tools to be a strong presenter, you will develop your natural charisma.

Why do you think so many people incorrectly believe that charisma is something we’re born with, some quality that is unattainable for the average person?


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