Declaring war on presentation robots!

I’m declaring war on robots.

Not the kind that make cars in Japanese factories.

I’m declaring war on presentation robots – the presenter who converts from human to robot (“presentation mode”) when they stand up and speak. A real departure from their natural style.

We all know the type. During the course of conversation they are their normal, usual self.

Yet, the moment they begin a presentation a strange thing starts to happen. Their body language suddenly changes. They adopt a more “presentation-like” stance, and start making exaggerated hand gestures. Their voice changes. They become jerky, awkward.

Before your eyes, they turn into a presentation robot.


Well for many years presentation skills courses have been all about teaching us how to act in a given presentation situation. So, we learn rules like “make eye contact for 3 seconds”, “make 3.5 hand gestures per minute” and “clothes to wear for power presentations.”

This type of learning only ever creates more robots – like a big production line.

To give them their dues, robots are always dependable and never out of line.

But I’ve never felt that close to one. They have never managed to be that convincing, or believable. Worse, they are always almost instantly forgettable.

So what’s the opposite of robotic? Well, look to people who have a genuine warmth -Richard Branson for example. Natural and human, and not afraid to reveal a bit of personality!

The key to being natural

The key to being natural is about certainty, which Branson and other top presenters have in plentiful supply. When you are clear about something, you speak with conviction and no visible signs of nerves.

With clarity comes certainty, and with certainty comes your own natural style.

Tip for being an anti-robot: Try to concentrate on being clear on your key messages, rather than “pretending” your way through a presentation.

The point is: Robots are out – natural is in!

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