Two Things: Believability and PassionSpeaking at a conference?

Teaching a class?

Giving a presentation?

Ask yourself the following questions:

Why? How? What? Who?


Why were you asked to speak? Why are you giving the presentation? Why should we know this information? Why should we believe you?


How will you relay the information? How will you convince us? Will you use a mic? Can you speak loud enough? Will you use visual aids? Will you stay in one place?

Is getting information out more important than connecting with people?—
Bridget Willard (@YouTooCanBeGuru) June 04, 2013


What is the most important goal of your presentation? What are you trying to accomplish?

Is it about the information or about the connection?

If it’s about the information, and you intend to read it, or (gasp) your PowerPoint slides, can I stop you now? If it’s about the information, then write a blog post. We (your audience) can read faster than you can read aloud.

If the connection is important then conjure up the passion you have about your topic and make us believe you. Convince us. Use your voice to emphasize points. Vary the speed at which you talk. Take pauses to highlight. Repeat key phrases. Yes, I said repeat key phrases. It’s not an essay, it’s a speech.


Your audience is watching you. You should watch them. Use your eyes. Look around the room. Make eye contact. This is difficult if you’re reading. Ask questions. Read their faces. You can tell if they’re lost in the backroads of their minds or if you are inspiring them. Reading an audience gives you subconscious clues on how to direct your presentation.

Over the years I’ve sat through countless lectures, fundraising speeches, sermons, and presentations. This is my conclusion:

You have to demonstrate passion to be believable.

When I watched the video of my presentation ”You Are What You Tweet,” my first reaction was, “what a spaz I am.” The truth is, that’s more entertaining. I was watching Darrel Cole’s face (as he’s holding the iPad) – you can tell that even he’s interested. Is this a shameless plug? No. I want you to know that I practice what I preach.

Two Social Giants that often speak as well are Gary Vaynerchek and Scott Stratten. They walk around the stage, use outlandish body language, inflection, and facial expressions. You want to keep watching.

What are your presentation tips?