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How to Be Memorable - Notes from My Journal
by Chris King

Why is it that we remember one presenter, and forget another? When someone mentions the first speaker’s name, the comment is, “Oh! She is a wonderful speaker! I heard her several years ago and will never forget her.” However, when the second speaker is mentioned, the comment is, “The name is familiar, but I can’t really remember her or what she spoke about.”

As presenters, we all want to be memorable. And memorable for being outstanding, not for doing a far from excellent job. In this article, I will highlight notes and observations I have made about the qualities of the memorable presenters I have heard over the years.

Memorable presenters have their own, unique style. They never try to be someone they aren’t. They are comfortable with themselves and within themselves. Because of this, they make us comfortable.

Memorable presenters have sincere passion and enthusiasm for their topic(s). I don’t mean that we have to be rah! rah! The operative word here is “sincere.” It is obvious when a speaker, even a competent one with all of the skills, is presenting a topic that he or she doesn’t care that much about.

Memorable presenters open and close with panache. Their openings grab your attention and ears immediately and their closings make you want to change your life or habits or take a risk the minute you leave the room. The openings and closes are often memorized. They are like the pieces of bread that hold the meat your sandwich together.

Memorable presenters tell stories that embrace, enthrall, enchant and stay with you for days and weeks after the presentation. They have studied this art form and have well rehearsed stories that they have told hundreds of times to friends and family.

Memorable presenters share "knock your socks off" content. It is cutting edge, innovative, new, different and moving. Yes, it moves us to action! And, the most memorable present the content in a way that makes us feel that they have read our minds and are speaking directly to us and our problems.

Memorable presenters have a superb sense of time and timing. They are always on time. They don’t use up more time than they have been given by going way over their allotted amount. They also know how to pace and to pause at just the right moment.

Memorable presenters are in control. I don’t mean in an authoritative way, but they control what is going on during the presentation. If there is a heckler or someone who is asking so many questions the presentation could get off track, they know how to handle the situation in a kind, yet firm, way. I have heard a memorable speaker suggest talking together at the break.

Memorable presenters can also cope with the unexpected. I have witnessed the best when all the lights go out, when someone in the audience becomes ill, or when there is an overabundance of noise and activity. Many have humorous lines for these interruptions - or even participatory activities for when the train is going by. They are also prepared to change their whole presentation, if necessary.

Memorable presenters do not give book reports. They know their subjects inside and out. And, most of them have already lived through the risks, failures and successes, so are speaking first hand from true experience.

Memorable presenters don’t depend upon PowerPoint for their presentations. I am not suggesting that we never use this fine tool. I am just against becoming so enamored by all the bells and whistles that we let it take over our presentation. I also feel that printing up a page for every slide is a cop-out.

Memorable presenters “walk their talk.” They are the same sincere person when you meet them off-stage as when they were on the platform.

Memorable presenters handle the Question & Answer portion of the presentation with knowledge, fairness, honesty and clarity. They are not afraid to admit when they don’t know the answer to a question. They promise to find it and get back to you - and they do!

Memorable presenters have confidence and self-esteem, but are not arrogant, egotistical, or focused on themselves. They are there for us. And they know how to establish rapport and bond with us.

Memorable presenters bond with the listeners. They look us in the eye, they involve us, they answer our questions and they establish rapport with all of us.

They are our friends! If you can present so that your audience feels you are their friend, then I guarantee that you will be a memorable presenter! At least, in my journal.

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