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Louis the fly or Mr Sheen? The importance of being an authentic presenter by Andrew Klein (MC) - 30 July 2017

Louis the fly or Mr Sheen? The importance of being an authentic presenter by Andrew Klein (MC)

For over 20 years Andrew Klein has been a highly respected and hugely entertaining MC and Presentation Skills trainer and speaker. He has worked around the world at countless conferences for a wide variety of companies and associations, including Aon, McDonalds, Macquarie Bank, BT Financial Group, Hotondo Homes and ANZ. This former litigation lawyer has gone on to become one of Australia’s most sought after MC’s and authorities on Presenting and Pitching. Most of his clients use him year after year. He is impeccably well-researched, tailors intricately for each event, is skilled at engaging with all types of audiences and adds incredible humour and energy to every event. From all his years of experience as an MC and Presentation Skills trainer, in this post Andrew provides some wisdom on the importance of being an authentic presenter.


Being polished

As a presentation skills trainer and speaker, you would think it is in my professional interest to encourage people to become more polished presenters. Yet after MC’ing conferences now for over 20 years, having observed literally thousands of speakers from all over the world, I have come to the following conclusion. I prefer Louis the Fly speakers to Mr Sheen speakers.

Mr Sheen speakers

For our younger readers, Mr Sheen was the sparkling, well-dressed cartoon character who helped sell a brand of floor polish. A ‘Mr Sheen Speaker’ (a term I made up about 2 minutes ago) is someone who has practised and polished their presentation to the point that it is like a piece of theatre. They are well rehearsed, their high-res slides are perfectly designed, often accompanied by music, their stories are beautifully told, often with well-honed one-liners and their body language perfectly in sync.

If you see them again at another event, you will see the identical presentation, same words, same movements, same pauses, same stories, same one-liners. Same-same. All of those above elements are admittedly part and parcel of being a great presenter and I certainly advise my clients to rehearse their presentation, tell relevant stories, to use body language and so on.

Going through the (e)motions

Yet despite being by-the book presenters, what some Mr Sheen Presenters may lack, especially after doing the same presentation for many years – is spontaneity and even authenticity. Their presentation is still slick and their messages remain strong but they can look like they are going through the motions. The emotions they express on stage might not look totally genuine and the words sometimes sound too scripted, too ‘rehearsed’. They deliver the identical presentation regardless of the audience, with zero tailoring.

It’s why some great rock bands constantly alter their set-lists and change the tempo and instrumentation in their hit songs – to keep things fresh and force themselves as performers to be in the moment.

Louis the fly speakers

The flip side to a Mr Sheen Speaker is the rough-around-the- edges ‘Louis the Fly Presenter’. Again for the benefit of our younger readers (sorry to harp on about the generational issue, but I turned the big 5-0 a few months back, so I’m acutely aware of alienating readers!!!) Louis the Fly was the dishevelled looking fly character used by Mortein to flog their fly spray.

A ‘Louis the Fly Speaker’ (again, I invented that term today as it just seemed a suitable polar opposite to Mr Sheen) is not overly polished; he (OK Louis might be Louisa – but for the purpose of this post – I am not going to keep he/she-ing) may not be smoothly dressed or have a refined way of talking. He’s a little rough around the edges, he might Umm and Ahh a little, place his hands in his pockets or lean laconically on the lectern.

The authentic tick

But……he is real, genuine, colourful, charming and most importantly authentic. He tells a story from the heart and is likely to tell the same story quite differently the next time he tells it. He’s still given thought to his key messages and he’s spent time jotting down his key points beforehand and he’s gone through those points a few times before he presents. Yet each time he presents, he’s in the moment and he is willing to adapt his presentation to the mood of the day, his humour is more spontaneous, he improvises more when telling his stories.

He certainly may not tick all of the “rules” of presenting – but he ticks the authenticity box, which in my mind is the most important one. If you see him give his presentation a year later, it will be like the guy who tried selling me a Rolex in Phuket markets last year – “Same, same – but different”.

The best presenters on the circuit in Australia are a mix of both. Let’s call them Mr Fly Speakers (see what I did there?). Their presentation is well rehearsed and well honed after years of delivery. They don’t just look authentic, they ARE authentic, because they ensure they are always in the moment, their core messages and stories are the same but they ebb, flow and alter their presentation to suit the actual audience on the day.

Bruce Springsteen has been belting out ‘Born to Run’ for 40 years, but it sounds like the first time every time and he looks like he’s having a great time each night – and I’m sure he is.

In my opinion all speakers should strive to be the same – polished and rehearsed – but in the moment and well, just being themselves. By the way, for our younger Gen Y readers, Bruce Springsteen is……(sorry, can’t help myself).

Discover more about Andrew here.

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