You are the leader of your presentation. If you are good, your audience will take their lead from you. They will follow you happily as you guide them through the facts if you have shown that you understand their position. However, I hope you want to be more than just good. I believe you want to be great.
I remember an electrifying moment at school when I was 17. The school had invited a writer to address us 6th formers (Year 12) on the subject of Ancient Greece. Now you would think that this was a dry and dull subject for adolescent girls. You’d think we’d be shifting around in our seats, looking at each other and giggling.
Oh no, not with this lady.! The history and art of Ancient Greece were her deepest passions. She inspired us girls, spotty and unprepossessing as we were, to develop an abiding love of Greece ourselves. The moment that stands out for me was when the lady (no idea as to who she was) showed us a slide (no, not PowerPoint, it was a photograph) of the Lions of Delos.
Ok, for the purposes of this blog, I will reveal my age – it was in 1969 so the colour was grainy and blurry. However, not only did our presenter talk about the Lions, she also got diverted onto the light of Greece – clear, pure and bright. Her voice became warm and her face was alight. It was a revelation. She compared the blue, water-filled light of Northern Europe with the purity of the dry light of Greece. She got me looking at Houseman’s ‘blue remember’d hills’ of my English childhood. She inspired in me a life-long love of Greece. And I’ll be making another pilgrimage next year – to Ithaka, a place of Homeric resonance.
Your audience loves passion. Your audience will engage with your passion. That’s when your presentation becomes more than a dry recitation of facts. It’s when it goes from good to great.