Deal or No Deal: Parallels between game shows and high-stakes presentations

By July 26, 2009March 30th, 2020SpeakerNotes

Game Show AudienceThese days, game shows seem to have exploded in popularity. One of the latest is Deal or No Deal, an exhilarating hit game show where contestants play for a cool $1 million in a high-energy contest of nerves, instincts and raw intuition.

So, what does a game show have to do with effective presentation skills? Almost everything.

Notice I said almost, because rather than battling a mysterious entity known only as “the Banker” as in the show Deal or No Deal, chances are most speakers will be presenting to a room full of advocates. That’s right: your listeners want you to succeed.

But Deal or No Deal, is a perfect speaking metaphor in every other way. To win over an audience, game show contestants must be confident they have the knowledge to win; be strategic in their approach, and have enough passion to inspire listeners.

Confidence is your first component for success, whether you’re competing on TV or presenting at a conference / tradeshow, tying up a business deal, or presenting at an analyst meeting. It’s critical for speakers to be confident about their message and willing to openly share their expertise. Self-assured presenters understand how and why their message is important, and speak with a heartfelt conviction that immediately engages listeners.

Successful “players” are also strategic in their approach. For presenters, this means crafting a message that is logically structured and unfolds like a compelling story. When your material is well organized, skillfully written, and carefully sequenced, attention is maintained and audiences are able to follow along with ease.

Finally, smart presenters can take a lesson in passion from their game show colleagues. Imagine a show that featured contestants completely devoid of personality or excitement. It may seem an obvious statement, but enthusiasm is contagious. If you are sincerely excited about your message, listeners can’t help but share your enthusiasm — and be inspired to take the appropriate action.

Whether you’re vying for millions in prizes or a standing ovation or deciding to close a deal, you set the tone for success the moment you start formulating your message. By considering how high-stakes contestants achieve success, you’re guaranteed to look at high-stakes presenting in a whole new light.