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Economics & Finance - BLOG

Passion: I like the way you look

Steve Knight |

How to produce and deliver a winning presentation Part 3: Passion – I like the way you look So you will have seen through Part 1: Prepared Goals and Part 2: Command Attention, the sequence of events and tasks that help you ensure that your presentation is remembered for all the right reasons, rather than all the wrong reasons. Here in this section of Part 3 I want to focus in on your Passion through facial expression. What do I mean by Passion?


I am sure you have sat through presentations, meetings, conferences, audio and video conferences, where you felt that the presenter was simply going through the motions. Their general demeanour, their body language, their facial expression, their tone of voice was saying to you that this person was not genuinely or passionately behind what they were saying or doing. The result is that you become disinterested, bored, frustrated, impatient and you can lose trust in the presenter.

The sad reality is that whilst this may be our perception of such a lacklustre delivery, it may be far removed from the reality of the presenter’s intention. It is likely that they are actually totally behind their message, but are completely unaware of how they are coming across to you and the rest of the audience.

So, what do we as presenters, meeting hosts and business leaders need to be aware of, to ensure we deliver our messages with genuine passion?

Firstly, let me say that this article is written on the basis that you are passionate about your job or your business. We spend, on average, a third of each 24 hour period at work, a third sleeping and a third taking care of all the other activities and duties that life requires, so our work is pretty much up there in terms of significant time invested. If your job, or your business seriously does instil zero passion within you, now might be the right time to seriously investigate a re-valuation of your core values and your life purpose. This, to avoid being stuck in the doldrums and going nowhere.

Should you perhaps:

  • Move from investment banking or consultancy to a not for profit organisation?
  • Set up your own business that follows your core values?
  • Pack it all in to become a scuba diving instructor on The Great Barrier Reef?

Or, are you great where you are and simply need some core values recognition and realignment. (I will write an article on this in the near future).

Secondly, I am presuming that you are following the steps and advice in my last two articles, so that you are giving yourself and your audience the best chance to be passionate about what you are talking about.

Thirdly, many people ask me “What’s there to be passionate about? I’m just giving out information!” My answer to that, as mentioned in my previous articles, is that there is no such thing as information only. You need to persuade your audience and your stakeholders that your information is worth listening to, that it’s accurate and that it matters to them. So if you are delivering what you perceive to be ‘dry’ information, change your mindset and realise the importance of your information and its relevance to your audience and change the way you deliver it, in terms of body language and voice.

So here we go, here’s an exercise for you to do after reading this article. Go to and select three or four presentations and view them. As you view each presentation note down what you observe, hear and perceive as passion. Draw your own conclusions after considering the following points that are crucial to you transmitting your message with passion and your message being received and perceived as having passion. In my next article we will focus on Voice, which also has a massive impact on passion, but for now it’s all about that look of yours.

Facial Expression: become consciously aware of what is appropriate and in line with what you are saying and your core message. Becoming fully consciously aware means that your expression will be natural and therefore genuine. For example, a:

  • smile
  • sensible degree of warmth

Or a look of:

  • compassion, empathy or sympathy
  • surprise, amazement or awe
  • shock or dismay
  • confusion
  • frustration
  • sadness or loss

Film yourself delivering a couple of minutes of a presentation. Then play back the video without sound and ask yourself, does your facial expression match what you were talking about? Many clients I film delivering a positive message have the facial expression that conveys, “Due to your poor performance I am firing you all this Friday!” Of course there is laughter from the client when they see the inconsistency and they are “shocked” and amazed that they were simply unaware that they were doing that.

On the other side of the coin, if you look at some newer, online news channels where the anchor does not yet have the required level of training or conscious awareness, they might be broadcasting the fact that 200 coal miners have died in a tragic and catastrophic accident, but their tone of voice and facial expression make it seem that we should be celebrating and having a party. It just doesn’t sit right and it makes you cringe.

So, in conclusion, become consciously aware of your facial expression. Get it right and you will gain emotional connection with your audience through natural, genuine and appropriate passion.

For more info:

As mentioned above, in the next article we will focus on your Voice.

Please keep your comments coming in by adding and sharing your experiences, thoughts and ideas below.

Photos: Shutterstock, Valua Vitaly / Shutterstock, bikeriderlondon / Shutterstock, JonMilnes/Shutterstock, Eryk Rogozinski

>> This article is part of the LinkedIn Influencers series; I welcome your questions, thoughts, observations, and experiences there:


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