Nobody is born as a great presenter, but anybody can become one. – by Darren Menabney

You’re in a meeting room, sitting through another presentation. The presenter is speaking in a monotone voice with no energy, reading the slides word for word, standing with shoulders slumped and head down, avoiding eye contact with the audience. After five minutes of this, half the audience has lost interest and is looking at their laptops or smartphones. You’ve probably sat through too many presentations like that.

Even if the presentation content is compelling, would you be persuaded by someone like that? Would you be inspired by someone like that?

How about someone who speaks about their big idea with passion, with humor, with emotion? Someone who shows confidence and strong body language to energize the audience? Someone who engages the audience by ending the presentation with a clear and rousing Call To Action? Those are the signs of a great presenter, those are the signs of a leader.

Which would you rather be?

Presentation skills are leadership skills

When you stand in front of a room, when you deliver a presentation or speech, you are a leader. The audience looks to you for guidance, they want you to lead them and guide them into a higher state of knowledge, of awareness, of action.

When you present, you need to inform, persuade, and inspire others. You need to get others to buy into your ideas, to join you, to follow you. That’s also what a leader must do. A leader shows others a better future and convinces them to join in and help build that better future.

So to be a leader, you must have superior presentation and speaking skills.

Leadership skills and presentation skills are the same, the effect on people is the same. You get people to buy into your ideas, buy into your vision. You inspire others. You lead others.

Want to become a leader? Want to inspire other to buy into your ideas? Start by improving your speaking and presenting skills. Become a better communicator.

How? Just like no one is born as a natural leader, no one is born as a natural presenter. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates both started out as nervous and uninspiring presenters, but both persevered and got much, much better. Presentation skills, like leadership skills, can be learned by anyone.

So read about presenting. Watch videos of great speakers. Take courses on presentation.

And then, get out there and do it!

Whenever you have a chance to present, whenever an opportunity arises to speak, grab it. Each presentation you give makes you a better speaker, a better presenter, and builds your confidence, so look for opportunities to present.

Volunteer! Raise your hand!

After all, that’s what a leader would do.

[Editor’s note: Darren will be teaching Business Presentation at GLOBIS in the October term.]