A Presentation Daredevil:

What the heck is that? (And 3 Ways to Become One)

My company brand was the result of two things:

  • The expertise of Chief Personality Officer, Danielle Hughes
  • Taking my dog for a walk in the park

I’ve got a great blog about the dog walk. It’s the only one, so far, with a photo of my 2-year old mutt, Pups, “Presentation Nerves: What my Dog Taught Me.

Yes! Little, cute Pups played a role in branding my new company. As simple a creature as he is: he loves his walks, his food, his treats and the ball he never gets bored of. Like most animals he’s just who he is. No pretense. That day that he frantically made me run after him in the park, he made me confront the only thing I need after my basic needs are met: the need to be unabashedly and unapologetically FREE! This led my wife to say, “you know, Pups is a lot like you.” Which got me thinking that…

Almost all of us have masks we wear or show up in a way we think people expect, rather than just being our authentic, free and true selves.

“To thine ownself be true”

This quote, (which I’ve read a gazillion times as a literature teacher) said by the character, Polonius, in the play Hamlet, always left me asking myself, “How the heck do you do that?”

Oscar Wilde, British playwright extraordinaire, has the answer: Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth

But a strange thing I discovered: you can’t wear a mask while giving a presentation, whether in person or virtually.

And that brings us to our main question: What the heck is a Presentation Daredevil? 

It’s a person who dares enough to feel totally free, not fearful, while presenting. Now this won’t happen overnight, but the only way to feel free is to remove that mask and be yourself. 


Here are a few ways to start:

1. Own Your Weird

If there’s any place for people to aspire to in their presentations, it’s in accessing their own freedom: that freedom to feel comfortable in their own skin when speaking to a group of people or freely sharing their ideas at a company meeting. And you don’t need to adopt a dog that shares your personality to be free.

You can simply access this freedom by starting with the judgements in your head about your own shortcomings:

My voice is so squeaky: OWN IT!

I’m not funny: OWN IT!

I’m not confident enough: OWN IT!

If you own it, if you embrace it, if you love it, you can free yourself up from the judgment of it. Only at this point can you use all those things to your advantage in a presentation. I know this because I’ve even judged my own judgements!

2. Give ‘em what they came for

I”m sure you’ve heard presentation skills trainers say: “focus on the audience.” 


It’s impossible. There you are: heart pumping, palms sweaty, stomach doing roller coaster rides and all of a sudden you’re going to think: “I know. I’ll just focus on the audience?” 

Keep in mind that your audience is there for the content. You’re there to deliver the content. Period!

But, when doing so, you can also rely on speaking tools that set you free and put the focus on the audience. These tools help you engage the audience, get them to speak or participate and allow you to focus on communicating the content. With this approach, you access more freedom and conviction because you feel calmer and more yourself. What a confidence booster that is! 

3. Put the audience in the state you want them

Voice your positive feelings about your audience. They’ll not only appreciate it, but will want you to continue to view them in a good light for the rest of your presentation.

It’s as easy as saying, “Well, thanks for sharing guys. You’re a friendly audience.” This will leave them being friendly because you’ve told them that’s what they are.

When your audience steps into your desired state for them, you’ll feel free to be you.

How do you transform your fear into freedom? Tell me the ways!

For more on CPO, Danielle Hughes and her branding service check out her website here.