How you can outperform a Nobel Prize winner

Imagine having the opportunity to share the stage with one of your ultimate heroes, someone you really look up to. And your presentation follows theirs. You may be feeling very small in the shadow of a big name player, but there is no reason to feel this way. You could easily outperform a Nobel Prize winner! Let me tell you how.

I will share with you two stories, each featuring a hero on stage.

Top executive at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The woman in question gives a presentation at a packed venue in the Netherlands. She is a true natural on stage: she speaks eloquently and with confidence, as if she’s been doing this her whole life.

But following an extensive rundown of everything her foundation does, my mind begins to wander and I glance at my watch.  I was looking forward to fine insights, thrilling anecdotes or world shocking data, but am left feeling unappeased. Each new slide brings more text. I pull out. Too bad. A five-star performance, but her message goes up in smoke.

When I approach her after her presentation to carefully ask whether she would be open to feedback, she kindly explains that her foundation is backed by a communication department with more than one hundred experts. She will not be needing my advice.

Too bad that, despite an army of communication experts, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is clearly missing out on opportunities to inspire individuals worldwide.

Nobel Prize winner

My second story: a Japanese Nobel Prize winner is flown in to present a talk at a renowned university in the United States. There is a massive turnout: the 900-seat venue fills up in no time. And hundreds more follow along via a video projection in an auditorium nearby.

But excitement quickly turns to disappointment: the presentation is uninteresting, difficult to grasp. and the slides are overflowing with text, some of which still in Japanese. The audience groans. Especially the many fans who traveled for hours to see their idol speak.

So much for the bad news

You probably know many more stories of speakers you had great expectations of and who failed to deliver.

It’s a pity that so much energy, time and opportunities worldwide is wasted, and all because of boring and unclear presentations.

But there is also fantastic news! If even a Nobel Prize winner or a top executive at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation can give a bad presentation, then it is up to you to make all the more of an impression by doing things right. Even if your audience doesn’t know you (yet).

What will you need?

  1. Be bold! Dare to step out of your comfort zone. Take your audience by surprise! Be the talk of the coffee break.
  2. Gear your presentation to your audience. Make your content relevant. Make your audience feel that you are there for them, that you want to share something valuable with them.
  3. Rehearse, as if your life depends on it. Rehearse until you have your story down pat. Know exactly when to show which slide and when to crack your biggest smile.

Will you be sharing the stage with one of your heroes soon? Wow, what an opportunity! Blow your audience away.

Need some extra help? We are happy to help out. We often coach speakers to present at large events. You can also attend one of our workshops or read our book. Feel free to contact us, and we will gladly help find the best solution for you.

Join our ‘present with impact’ workshop on 23 January in Antwerp



Photo ‘microphone’ by Kane Reinholdtsen on Unsplash

Photo ‘heroes’ by Gabriel Bassino on Unsplash

4 extra tips & tricks for researchers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *