There are three vital components to the art of delivery.
They're vital if you're delivering your beauty parade pitch at 4pm on a Friday to that panel whose members have just sat through six boring PowerPoint presentations from your competitors. They're vital if you're delivering a three hour training session to 100 bods from one of your big clients. First thing in the morning. On day three of their big annual conference. And they were all up at the bar putting the world to rights until the wee small hours the night before. So, many of them are feeling a tad worse for wear.
I have found myself in this second scenario three times so far this month and will be in it another five before it's over. My colleagues, Nicky and Russell, have been and will for the next five conferences be in the rooms next door facing the same situation.
And the three vital components are? Energy. Spontaneity. Creativity. It's the first one I want to talk about today - energy.
When I ask audiences what they think I mean by "energy" in delivery of a pitch or other presentation they often talk about "passion" and "enthusiasm". And I agree. But then I ask - how do you display "passion" and "enthusiasm"? What would cause you to rate one speaker as a ten for those qualities and another speaker as a three? And the answer, after some further debate and analysis, is always the same. It's everything about you. From the moment you are visible to the pitch panel members or conference delegates until the moment you can go away and lie down in a darkened room. It's what you chose to wear. It's how you comport yourself as you move across the room. It's your posture. It's your gesture. Your facial expressions. Eye contact. Lexical choice. Voice - variations in pitch, pace and tone, your use of pause, timbre, inflection and volume. Everything.
And it's absolutely vital. Why? Because it energises the audience. It engages them. Genuine passion and enthusiasm are infectious.
And yes of course there is such a thing as too much energy. Context is everything. Who are you talking to? What are you talking about? Why are they there? Do you require to demonstrate some gravitas and establish credibility?
But, trust me on this. I've worked with around 20,000 lawyers, accountants, consultants and other professionals and senior managers over the the past decade helping them to prepare for big beauty parade pitches and presentations. And the single component that tends to lack the most in their delivery is energy. It's extremely rare that anyone delivers as an eleven on the ten point energy scale and needs to be told to tone it down.
They tend to tone down the energy (especially if they don't pitch or present regularly) because they're nervous. Or they tone it down because they think they must appear "professional". And of course they must. But not to the extent that it looks like they've had a personality-ectomy.
So, next time you find yourself pitching for that big job at 4pm on a Friday or delivering three hours at a conference the morning after the wild night before, please don't hold back on the energy in the delivery.
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about the author
Michael Fleming is our Head of KWC Legal. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop him an email and we will be in touch.