This week I had a friend of mine from Apple deliver a 90 minute presentation to an auditorium of about 300 college students from around the world. The presentation was fantastic. The content was good and appropriate for the audience. And since Apple is the the most popular global brand in the world right now (according to BrandChannel), the audience was naturally curious. But even those who are not interested in business per se were very much interested in the presenter's words. The reason why the presenter did so well, I think, is because he had a clear passion for his topic and that came through loud and clear at every turn.
Passion and enthusiasm is something you can not fake, in my opinion. Yes, we have all seen talking heads giving "exciting" demos at trade shows and computer expos, etc. Those folks are often professional speakers with formal speech training and even drama backgrounds. They are good, but they often come across a bit too slick, partly because they sound rehearsed and a bit too perfect. My friend last week was not perfect — how can anyone be mistake free? But his overall presentation was just about as perfect as you can get because he made a connection with the audience, told his "story," had great, focused content, and brought excitement to the topic. (Oh yes, and by the way, his slides were simple, beautiful, and helped his cause, but even if he had no slides, he would have had a great presentation.)
You never have to be perfect, but I do suggest you never hide your enthusiasm and passion for the topic. Tom Peters is a guy who I have seen present a couple of times. Tom is not perfect when he presents. And there is nothing slick to Tom. But Tom is one of the most passionate business presenters I have ever seen. Tom walks around the stage and through the audience, he asks questions, he asks why? As in "why damn it....?" Tom is provocative. Not all our business presentations have to be Tom Peters-like, but all our talks, to some degree, do need to provoke and connect on an emotional level, do they not?