How to Present With More Personality

by Nina Meehan

You are enough, just as you are. You don’t have to become anyone else to be a great presenter, leader and communicator. If you want to Present with Personality, it’s about amplifying the best parts of yourself, not about trying to be someone you are not. 

So, what does that look like? Let’s start with looking at your strengths and building on those! What makes you unique? What are you best at? What makes you feel really confident? What do you get complimented on by others? Once you know what your strengths are, find ways to amplify them.  

For instance, let’s say you are a person who gets recognized for being really great at deep-dive research. Why not open your talk or presentation with 3 great bits of information that you have found?  You will feel more comfortable starting with something that is in your wheelhouse, and others will be immediately impressed with you ability to figure things out that others may not know how to uncover?

Now, let’s take a hard look at where you have challenges. As you think about this, I want to invite you to see challenge areas as opportunities for growth.  It is so easy for us to think about our “weaknesses” and just use it as a way to beat ourselves up, but let’s, just for a minute, suspend the negative self-talk. Where do you struggle with communication? What feedback do you get about where you need to improve? When do you feel the most nervous? If you can be real with yourself on your challenge zones, it’s possible to scaffold around them. 

For instance, if you are struggling with flow when you are presenting data on your own, but do great in dialogue about data, pre-record a video with you talking about the data with a colleague and insert that video into the middle of your presentation. Scaffolding can allow you to tell the story that needs to be told without the panic of having to do something that really doesn’t come naturally to you. 

Now, the last part of presenting with personality is the FUN factor. What do you enjoy doing? What is the most fun part of your day? People want to connect with YOU, even more than they want to connect with your content.  So, add in a little play.

Are you an amazing rock climber? Find a way to add a picture of yourself halfway up a cliff when you get to a slide about “Assessing Risk.” Do you coach your five-year old’s soccer team? Throw in a photo of all the kids crowding around the soccer ball and leaving the goal totally unguarded as you talk about “Building up Our Defense Against Competitors.” Maybe you love music? Great! Play your favorite song as people are entering the room or as the preso is finishing.  

Anything you can do to allow your true self to be present will help you feel more comfortable (a genuine smile is the BEST antidote to stress that ever existed) and will invite your audience to feel connected to you! 

The more you can bring your true authentic self into the room, the more effective you will be at presenting information.