When you give a presentation, you want to be seen as smart…capable…self-assured.
But admit it: You want to be likable, too.
And with good reason. Being a likable speaker has benefits that go beyond making you feel good. If you come across as likable, your audience will respond much more positively to both you and your message.
Here are three ways you can be a more likeable speaker.
1. Be warm
One of the best ways you can be a more likeable speaker is if you focus on being “warm.” Fundamentally, being warm is about having the right energy flow.
In my coaching programs, I’ve found that when my clients are fully engaged with their speaking — thinking about their ideas and seeing the images they use in their mind’s eye — their facial expressions become more dynamic. They go from flat and closed-off to dimensional and open. Their faces have creases of expression; they’re not puffy like a pancake. So, by engaging with your speaking and having more dynamic facial expressions, you’ll have the energy flow you need to be more warm and likable.
2. Make people feel smart
Another way you can become a more likable speaker is by making your audience feel smart. How do you make people feel smart? First of all, don’t go overboard with trying to show off your in-depth knowledge about a given subject. If you’re speaking about a complex subject, you better be able to explain things in simple, concrete terms.
If you’re not able to do that, you’ll make your audience feel dumb — and no one likes to feel dumb. They won’t understand your message, and they certainly won’t see you as likable. So, make sure you repeat your key points, and illustrate complex concepts with simple images.
3. Smile like you mean it
Finally, you need to smile — but not just any kind of smile will do. If you try to force smiles so as to be seen as likable, your audience will see through it.
If you’re not a naturally jovial person, or you happen to not be in a good mood that day, you still need to smile genuinely, so you need to use images or examples in your presentation that bring to mind subjects or situations that make you smile. For example, if you love playing tennis, you could compare overcoming various ups and downs to winning a long, back-and-forth rally in one of your memorable matches.
While being a likable speaker comes more naturally to some people than others, everyone can take conscious steps to improve their likability. By being warm, making your audience feel smart, and smiling radiantly, you can make a tremendous difference in how people feel after you speak.