Do Your Presentations Lack Energy?
My husband gave up eating french fries 4 years ago after reading an article stating that as men approach a certain age, french fries and potato chips are often the biggest contributor to weight gain.
And just like that he hasn’t had a french fry since.
Since he didn’t mention anything about women in the article, I still eat french fries a few times per year. I love them in all shapes – curly, shoe string, steak fries, waffle, tater tots. And I love them with salt and dipped in yellow mustard.
Some people like them with ketchup, vinegar, mayonnaise or as I learned on a recent visit to Quebec City, topped with gravy and cheese curd.
I don’t know many people who like plain french fries. Do you?
Before I lose you though, this post isn’t about french fries, although it came up in a presentation workshop I taught earlier this week.
Do your presentations lack energy?
See, we were talking about bringing energy into our presentations and conversations using the body and voice. Chris had volunteered to get some on-the-spot coaching.
Here’s what I noticed about Chris when he spoke: he stood with one hand in his pocket, the other hand leaning on the table next to him. He looked down a lot, and for a tall guy in a small room, his voice didn’t project as much as I suspected it could. His presence and presentation lacked energy.
As I offered these insights and suggestions, one gentleman, Gary, asked, “But I thought his message was very informative. Is it okay that he didn’t have the body movements?”
Add some flavor to your presentation
Of course it’s OK, I said. Then I told them french fries are okay on their own AND they are better with salt. Or vinegar or ketchup – as others in the group added.
Voice and body movements add flavor to the message. Just like salt, vinegar or even gravy and cheese curds add flavor to a french fry.
Then I asked Chris if he’d be willing to try a few things to add that flavor. You know, things like go bigger with his arm movement, speak louder on certain words, and add pauses to emphasize certain points. Reluctant at first, Chris agreed to step outside his comfort zone.
As Chris added bigger arm movements and more energy to his voice, I noticed everyone in the room sit up taller and lean forward to listen. When Chris finished I asked the group what they thought about the changes. One person excitedly said, “He captured my attention! Wow, that was great.”
Everyone else nodded in agreement.
Using your body and voice differently can feel awkward
To be sure, I asked Chris about his experience. He said it felt awkward. And that’s often the response I hear from folks who try something new with their voice or body. Yet, it’s never awkward to the audience.
It’s also important to note: you must add the appropriate amount of flavor. Too much salt or ketchup can ruin the french fry. Too much energy can sound disingenuous.
We gave Chris a round of applause and everyone agreed, your body and voice can add energy to our interactions – and it takes work (and maybe a couple of french fries) to make it happen.
Your turn to talk to me
Do you eat french fries? How do you like them?
How do you add energy to make your presentation pop?
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Humor, stories, and insights, delivered 2x per month, to perform without the pressure.
Topics include mental health, work, human connection, creativity and more.
[…] a large conference style table eating a lunch of clam chowder, over-sized chicken sandwiches and french fries, and listening to person after person talk for five minutes about their business. Not to mention […]
[…] Truth: Elevators speeches must be clear and compelling. After that you can most certainly infuse energy and enthusiasm. Depending on the format or how much time you have, you might tell stories, stand instead of sit, or use your voice to convey the right tone. In the video I talk about the French fry metaphor. You can read that post here. […]