You’ll have to excuse us as we wax metaphysical. We’ve tried other ways to get the point across about the relationship between personal habits and dynamic presentations—if you eat well, you have more energy; if you wake up early, you’re more prepared—but these direct correlations between behavioral patterns and presentation results always seem to fall flat.

And yet, one of the most commonly observed “phenomenons” of the presentation world is that great presenters lead disciplined, organized, healthy lives. We’re not saying that a slideshow of the World’s top 100 presenters would house as many six-packs; but we are saying there would probably be more six-pack abs than six-packs of Milwaukee’s Best.

So, we’ve decided it’s metaphysical. Great presenters have great habits, but none of these habits directly correlate to great presenting. Theoretically, the always-late, junk food-eating, improv-obsessed presenter crowd out there ought to be able to take the basic principles of great presenting and deliver same as anyone else. But they don’t, usually.

Here are some of the basic habits we routinely notice in great presenters:

1. Waking up early. You can call it time-specific insomnia, but really, they’re just disciplined. It’s no easier for them to wake up early than for the rest of us, but they do it anyway—probably because they’ve pushed away comfort and ease and chosen, instead, to focus on their goals each day.

2. Reading. A lot. Great readers, over time, become wise people. The human mind is a marvel of synthetic capability, but it can only work with what we put in it. Even the most creative individuals of history are known to have been voracious consumers of ideas, culture, and the world around them.

3. Rehearsing. It’s the worst part of presenting, or doing anything, really. Everyone wants to be like Jordan in the last 10 seconds of a World Championship game, but not everyone wants the lonely, thankless nights in an empty stadium doing wind sprints and shooting jumpers. Technically speaking, everyone practices and rehearses some; the greatest among us just do it more.

4. Eating well. Even way back to Old Testament days, when Daniel and his men earned the king’s favor by demonstrating the strength of mind and body that was possible through a clean, pure diet, the idea that what we put into our bodies affects our core capabilities has been a constant. We know it’s right to eat well. We know we think clearer, focus more, and have more energy when we do. Great presenters take it one step farther than many of us by actually eating well!

5. Positive thinking. This is the core of it all. The motivation to form positive habits comes out of a positive self-image and positive outlook on life. What is, perhaps, surprising is that positive thinking and positive circumstances are not correlated whatsoever. Indeed, what makes some people’s stories so incredible is that they have maintained a positive mindset in the midst of horrible adversity and struggle. Great presenters—and great people—think positive. Period.

Question: Do you build habits into your life that support your goals? If so, what are those habits?





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  • It's surprising how little importance many speakers place on rehearsing. Speaking is still seen as a mysterious skill that you either have or you don't, so it doesn't occur to most people to work on it and improve their craft. Nice list, thanks!

  • I think these useful steps relate to many different professions, especially waking up early, eating well and positive thinking. But for presenters, I feel rehearing is an absolute necessity. As Alex says, it's surprising how little importance many speakers place on rehearsing. Great article! Thank you

    • leslie

      Antony, you are right – rehearsing is an absolute necessity. Thanks for you comment! We are glad you enjoyed the blog post.

  • Adeyinka temitope

    Rehearsing is very important in other to improve in ones skill in every situation we find ourselves as presenters we should always learn to be cheerful and think positive no matter the situation it may be cheer up! choice not by chance determines ones destiny

    • Adeyinka temitope

      our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure we ask ourselves who am i to be brilliant ,gorgeous,talented and fabulous actually who are you not to be? we are born to make a manifest, the glory of God that is within us and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same, as presenters what can stop you from being a light to others is you yourself.

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