Be an Influential Presenter: Have Passion and Use Dynamic Examples

When we are asked to give a presentation — a keynote, a workshop, a sales presentation, or lead a meeting — one of our primary goals is to influence our listeners in some way. What are the tools, methods, attributes and attitudes that will help us to become powerful, influential presenters?

Have Passion for Your Topic If You Hope to Influence.

  • I have talked about having a passion for your topic before, but I feel it can’t be said enough. If we don’t care about our topics, how can we ever expect to influence others? Last year I attended a Security Summit intended for technology types. However, the presenter who was the most passionate and frightened me the most wasn’t a “techie” at all.
  • He was a passionate writer and speaker about airline security. He started by pointing out that security strategy isn’t any different from computer technology security. By showing the similarities of approaches and the need to think backward, “with the mind of a terrorist,” he showed clearly that “security is security” and the more secure we think we are by creating additional layers of security, we aren’t becoming safer.
  • Before you accept a presentation assignment, be truthful about your passion or lack of passion for the topic or the product. You may be able to entertain the listeners, but without passion, you will never be able to influence them.

Make Use of Dynamic Examples for Influence

At the Security Summit, the most dynamic example was as unnerving, and yet as easy to follow as an example could be. The security guru for airline safety talked about all of the new layers of safety measures that have been initiated since 9/11 — the airport check-through lines, the undercover agents on the planes, the pilot’s gun and the heavy security door to the cockpit that is bullet proof and locks from within the cockpit.

He then walked out of the room, closed the door and proceeded to knock on it, until someone let him back in (people assumed that the door had locked him out). He then asked how many in the room had flown recently and had noticed that the heavy security door was open throughout the flight, or had been opened for the pilot to use the restroom at the back of the plane.

He illustrated that in this situation we have made it easy for the terrorists. Now only one — not three — terrorist sitting toward the front of the plane who is quick and trained in the martial arts can dash through the open door, shut it to everyone else, surprise and overwhelm the pilot, take his gun, shoot those in the cockpit, and he is clear to fly the plane into any building he wishes. Were we all influenced by this demonstration? You bet.

You see, as long as you’re passionate about your topic and your examples are dramatic, you will be remembered as an influential presenter.