Imagine that you’re at dinner with a close friend or family member. And you’re talking with a great deal of intensity about something that you’re passionate about.

That is the kind of presentation style we recommend. We want you to speak with the same energy that you bring when you’re talking to a close friend and you’re speaking with intensity.

Of course the problem when you’re speaking in a business setting is that you’re not speaking with close personal friends. It’s not a dinner conversation. It’s a business presentation. And you’re not the same person in business as you are with your friends.

So how do you get back to that “personal style” when you’re giving a business presentation?

Make Great Eye Contact and Exaggerate

First comes eye contact. No one can be a good presenter if they’re not making good eye contact with the audience. Eye contact is the point where actual contact with the audience takes place. It’s the point of connection. And without connection, you’re lost.

Next comes exaggeration. You need to exaggerate your facial energy, your gestures, and your voice energy. Why exaggerate? Because when we’re speaking in a business setting, we pull in. We become a more conservative version of ourselves. We become flat. Indeed, the number one issue with business presenters is that they speak with too little energy.

“But I don’t want to come across like a television huckster!” That’s the pushback we get when we urge people to exaggerate the energy.

The Authenticity Paradox

But when we exaggerate, over-energizing our facial energy, vocal energy, and gestures, we don’t come across as “over the top.” We just get back to the personal style that we have when we’re with friends and we’re intense.

I like to call this the “authenticity paradox.” I want you to be authentic. But when you’re standing in a conference room, you don’t feel authentic. So to find that authenticity, exaggerate your energy. In a sense, you need to act like an exaggerated version of yourself to get back to an authentic version of yourself.

Joey Asher

Joey AsherJoey Asher has worked with thousands of business people helping them learn how to communicate in a way that connects with clients. His new book 15 Minutes Including Q&A: a Plan to Save the World from Lousy Presentations” is available now. He is also the author three previous books including “How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals That Will Distinguish You from the Competition”, “Selling and Communication Skills for Lawyers” and “Even A Geek Can Speak.”