How to Win at Presentations and Build a Successful Life HINT: Passion plays a big role

How to Win at Presentations and in life

Not too long ago I had the pleasure of joining a well-respected presentation based podcast, A Time to Shine to discuss the concept of passion and how it relates to both presentations and success.

If you haven’t checked out the interview, scoot on over to “Time to Shine” to have a listen. 

However, if your schedule doesn’t allow, I’ve got you covered. Most of the questions and comments I addressed are nicely laid out for you in this post today. I even expanded on some of the questions to add further value.

But, why should you check this out?

You are crazy busy. I get it. However, leveraging this notion of passion is surely one of those secrets alluded to in this post’s title as far as winning in life.

Let me leave the reasoning of the aforementioned statement to a source with a bit more clout than what I may seemingly offer:

HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW

“Regardless of your talent, you will have rough days, months, and years. You may get stuck with a lousy boss. You may get discouraged and feel like giving up. What pulls you through these difficult periods?”

“The answer is your passion. It is the essential rocket fuel that helps you overcome difficulties and work through dark times.”

“Passion emanates from a belief in a cause or the enjoyment you feel from performing certain tasks. It helps you hang in there so that you can improve your skills, overcome adversity, and find meaning in your work and in your life.”

I interpret this to mean that your life purpose and the resultant level of success or failure you experience is pretty much tied to your level of passion.

*So yeah, I think reading through this post could be worth your time. 😉 Let’s do this!*


Time to Shine Q: What is passion?  

If you’re like me, things slip my mind a lot sooner than I’d like. To answer this first question, see the “Harvard Business Review” quote 10 lines above this one.  😉 


Time to Shine Q: Why is passion so important? 

For half of my answer to this question, I’ll defer once again to HBR. However, I would like to add the following:

BONUS insight: Speaking with passion gives you that ever helpful “IT” factor. There are so many people out there that simply go through the motions when professionally delivering their ideas. Conversely, many stumble, mumble or have their words come out in a jumble.

Did you like that little rhyming action? Cute right? My apologies, I couldn’t resist.  😉 

So many opportunities for individuals to excel and have their ideas acted upon are wasted. This equates to missed chances as far as advancing causes, careers and or businesses.

*Ouch!*

On the other hand and to a “go-getters” benefit, the people who use their drive and grit to develop their speaking skills and deliver excellent presentations are the ones who typically find their rise to the top expediated.

In terms of finding ways to stand out and set yourself apart within organizations or amongst other entrepreneurs, the holding of higher level degrees, diplomas, and unique experiences are becoming more of an expectation rather than a differentiator. As a result, if you’re hoping to separate yourself from the pack based on those factors, it could be a tricky proposition.  

However, delivering knock-out talks (internally or to clients) offers one of the surest ways to setting yourself apart and ultimately positioning yourself to succeed.

And again, the fuel that will allow you to pursue these skills will be your passion.

One more take on the power of passion:

Knowledge & Experience + No Presentation Skills              = Below average Professional / Business Powers

Knowledge & Experience + Presentation Skills                   = Above Average Professional / Business Powers

Knowledge & Experience + Presentation Skills + Passion  = *Superhero level Professional / Business Powers


Time to Shine Q: Who is speaking with passion today? 

The people who are atop their professions, businesses industries are those speaking with passion. Those who don’t speak with passion consistently are the one that are more than likely still struggling to achieve success.

For reference, some of the biggest names who speak with passion include Gary Vaynerchuk and Anthony Robbins. These two individuals exude their passion through the display of their natural energy and enthusiasm for their ideas. 

However, to nip a common misperception in the bud right away, I’d like it to be known that speaking with passion is not limited to that style of expression. 

Put another way, exhibiting passion is not limited to intense displays of energy, bouncing off the walls or having your words being delivered at hyperspeed.

You can show your passion simply by truly and deeply believing in your words and having the courage to let others see and feel that level of emotion.

A Self Professed Introvert

For reference, I’ll draw reference to TED phenom, Susan Cain (a self-professed introvert) who delivered her own impassioned speech which was not fiery or had her dancing around the stage. Yet her passion for her talk “The Power of Introverts” was clearly evident.

At the time of publishing this post, her talk has been viewed over 19 million times and has become one of the most viewed talks in TED history!

In referencing all three of those speakers, the commonality is surely found in that all three truly stand behind their words and beliefs. Audiences see, feel and respect that. To me, that is the defining aspect of speaking with passion.

How to Win at Presenations PASSION In Post Image


Time to Shine Q: If everybody else tells you don’t speak with passion, what can you do?

Passion reserves running low? →  IDEA #1:

I think it is essential to step back and reflect and ask yourself some poignant questions. What deeper motivations do you have as a person? And how could they be reflected in your presentation or talk?

Within the interview, I talked about a concept called “Passion Values.”

What you stand for in life will guide the veracity with which you will probably get after your personal and professional goals. Too many people are out of touch with what drives them. Due to this, they often find themselves drifting and not necessarily heading towards their ultimate goals.

Learning how to harness your very own Passion Values can go a long way towards injecting purpose and feeling into your talks.

A concrete example:

A person who values higher level causes such as empowerment, education, self-realization, freedom could tap into those ideas to help propel themselves through fears, lack of motivation or other barriers which could prevent them from finding success.

Conversely, someone who is less connected to his or her internal motivations and is less aware of what drives them may ultimately find themselves giving in or settling for a lower standard. Such action, unfortunately, will do little as far as advancing careers and businesses.

For a deeper look at Passion Values, check out this older post! To add, there is a free resource, which will help you uncover your own Passion Values. I cannot recommend it enough. 

Passion reserves running low? →  IDEA #2:

Other mental exercises include asking yourself questions like: How would you like to be defined as professionally speaking ten years from now? How would you like to be remembered?

I know those questions are a bit fluffy. However, if you genuinely take the time to engage in the exercises, they can be helpful as far as tapping into your underlying passion.

Passion reserves running low? →  IDEA #3:

Finally, study yourself when you are speaking about something you have passion for. Notice how you change when speaking about something you love.

Confident and content fellow

This is now your gold standard of you speaking with passion.

Any time you veer off that path or notice your passion levels dropping. Stop, reflect and find ways to further wire your passions into your presentation objectives.


Please share with us your favorite quotation  

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.  Maya Angelou

I love this quote for so many reasons. Chiefly, I admire the recognition of the fact that it is a worthwhile cause to push ourselves to be greater but NOT at the expense of compromising the values or ideas that define us.

I also adore the inclusion of humor and originality as important facets to not be forgotten. Being driven is great, but hey, there has to be a level of enjoyment and fun in all of this too!

As for navigating life and succeeding in work and business, Angelou nails it all in two lines. 


Time to Shine Q:  Share with us an exercise, something practical that you recommend doing it daily or weekly, as a routine to shine. 

Take a few minutes each day to simply recenter yourself. Remind yourself what you stand for.

Ask yourself questions that get to the core of who you are and what you do. As noted earlier this can be done by clearly defining your “Passion Values.” In doing so, your levels of passion WILL increase. 

When that happens, your drive to improve will show itself by you having more gumption and higher levels of grit. That of course, will make it a lot easier to devote extra time towards your speaking skill development and rehearsal.


A Couple Final Thoughts

Seeing that this website and community of readers have been gnawing on a lot of the presentation advice and resources here, I thought it would be an opportune time to further explain what this site is all about.

Judging from the name of the blog–The Passion Fashioned Presenter–it would not be a stretch to assume that this notion of passion is important to me as far as what I stand for.  

However, I have had a few questions from media and readers regarding whether the title is a moniker or something else.

To answer, “The Passion Fashioned Presenter” is a persona which I feel each and every person should aim to adopt. It is something that is critical to success whether you be an entrepreneur or professional working within an organization.

In short, I’d love for us ALL of us to be considered a “Passion Fashioned Presenter”. If that were the case, the world would be filled with a lot more engaging, informative and useful talks, meetings and pitches.

Why you should aim for this identity:

If you became known as someone who delivers the goods as far as adopting a passionate approach to presentation and life as a whole, I can all but guarantee that you will be much better positioned to reach your professional (and in effect) your personal goals. 

So go ahead and grab the worksheets to identify your Passion Values now. It’ll be so worth it. I promise.

As always, I would love to hear how you make out! You can reach out by finding and following us on these platforms:

Twitter ⇒     @passion__fp

Pinterest ⇒ The Passion Fashioned Presenter

LinkedIn ⇒ Christopher Schoenwald