The 3 Cs of Outstanding Presenters

Outstanding presenters often leave us in awe while they help us see a different world.

Everything about these presentations is superb. The slides, the flow, the information, and the presenters themselves. These presenters are on top of their game. They engage with well-structured information and connect with the audience. 

Presentations like these are so effective, we remember the talking points long afterward. And we are more likely to take the action the presenter wants us to take. While such presentations may be exceptional, we can learn every aspect that makes them outstanding. 

Nobody is born with a full set of presentation skills and a mindset that instills confidence. Outstanding presenters learned and honed their skills through practice and adjustments.

Besides skills, these presenters also share a few characteristics. Here are three traits communicators with the ability to persuade share.

Confidence

Outstanding presenters have a healthy amount of confidence. This confidence is partially the result of the knowledge they have about the subject matter and the audience. They have also developed their presentation skills to make it easy for them to convey a message to an audience. 

There are many ways to gain confidence and deal with speaking anxiety. A solid foundation for confidence is to realize that you have something others would like to learn more about. Their mission is not to test you or criticize your presentation. They are there to learn something from you.

Confidence can’t be acquired over night and there isn’t an on/off switch for it either. We develop confidence by first acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills and then getting as much practice as we can. One place to practice is Pitch in the Zone, where you get immediate feedback from several coaches.

A word of caution: there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Being overly confident can come across as arrogance, a negative trait. Feel good about yourself yet stay humble in your approach.

Credibility

Outstanding presenters know they need credibility to be taken seriously and to influence others. They know that an audience will listen more closely to those who show knowledge, experience, and trustworthiness.

These presenters strive to know as much as possible, not only about the material they present but also about its ecosystem, so they can justify why their recommended approach is the best choice.

Establish credibility early in your presentation to answer the one question initially on the mind of every audience member: “Why should I listen to you?” Once you give them a good reason, they will be more receptive of your ideas and recommendations.

You don’t need to recite your resume in the first minute of your presentation to build credibility. Far from it. A gentle and more modest approach is to draw attention to a few relevant accomplishments in passing. We all have much to brag about and doing so as a side note and with humility makes us more acceptable to the audience.

Common Ground

Confidence and credibility alone isn’t enough to build an emotional connection with an audience. You also need to build rapport. You need to prove that you are standing on common ground.

The dictionary definition of rapport is “a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas.” So to build rapport, demonstrate to your audience how your journey and goals align. Show them that you are standing on common ground.

An effective way to this is to use stories and anecdotes that highlight their problem and how you relate to it. When you get your audience to nod in agreement, they will automatically listen more closely and open up to your recommendations. 

There are more traits outstanding presenters share with each other. Enthusiasm, trustworthiness, a sense of humor, and determination are a few that come to my mind and I’m sure you can think of a few more…

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