The "will" is decisive - Cornelius Obonya on the key to good presentations


As an actor he is constantly on stage, in front of the camera and in front of the audience. He has to present not only different roles, but also and always himself. How to keep one's cool and at the same time convince the audience? We asked Cornelius Obonya this.

A life in front of an audience

Cornelius Obonya has long been one of the greats of German-speaking acting. Until 2016, the Viennese born actor played the "Jedermann" at the Salzburg Festival. Regular appearances at the Vienna Burgtheater, in crime scene thrillers, radio plays and numerous film and television productions are part of his daily work. He has already won numerous awards and honors for his performances. And even outside of his roles, the Austrian actor repeatedly presents himself to an audience as a speaker at various lectures and presentations. 

short: Cornelius Obonya leads a successful life in the spotlight. It is not only important to convincingly present certain roles, but also to expose oneself to the spotlight again and again. So from whom could someone who has to give a presentation learn more? Which methods Obonya uses to convince an audience of himself and which tips from the art of acting he recommends to all presenters, he told us in an interview. 

As an actor you are constantly on stage or in front of the camera: Do you also give lectures outside of your professional activity ?

Even such performances occur again and again. For example, I have already given lectures for the Rotary organization and once I had the great honor of being allowed to give a Holocaust memorial speech. Most of the time, I talk about artistic or political and social topics at such lectures, for example, how do you prepare for such presentations? To be honest, I do it completely from my gut. Depending on the topic and how well I know it already, I sometimes take notes and sometimes not. If the latter is the case, I often realize that I like to stray from the main track. So it really makes sense to lay down a track before. If you can then still present yourself freely in front of the audience, all the better. But I'm not afraid of having a piece of paper in front of me. Whether or not my presentations were really good in the end is something that others have to judge, of course.

What are the essential ingredients to win over an audience?

In principle, there is a big difference in presentation technique between acting with memorized texts and free lecture without any template. However, in my opinion, one thing is completely immanent and identical in both: the presenter has to tell it want it. And deeply. This does not mean that the narrator must jump up and down in ecstasy, but he must know exactly what he is talking about. This requires a precise engagement with a subject. However, it can also happen that you don't have enough information at a certain point, but you do have enough information at another point. If this is the case, I would never be afraid to admit this in a lecture. Because freely admitting a mistake or ignorance makes the speaker charming. To do this, however, you have to redeem something on another side, i.e. you have to disclose information that you are very familiar with. An open approach to the audience is probably the most important thing. That also means dealing with weaknesses offensively. An increasingly important issue is, for example, when someone from the audience stares at their smartphone during a performance or lecture. In such a case, you can also grab the attention of the audience by addressing this openly.

In your opinion, can anyone become a good presenter?

In my opinion, there is one thing you cannot learn: charisma. Even the best presentation coaching in the world cannot replace missing charisma. It's similar to acting: You can take as many acting classes as you want or have been to an acting school for as long as you want - missing talent can never be replaced and an audience will always feel that. It's simply not for everyone to stand in front of an audience. But: There is a way to compensate for that. Because something that is quite possible is to structure a presentation with a lot of practice in such a way that it is exciting. Even someone who does not like to stand in front of an audience by nature can be factually convincing and give a successful presentation with an exciting structure. An exciting structure is characterized by taking unconventional paths, using humor and showing: I know myself well, but do not take myself too seriously.

Continuation follows...

Cornelius Obonya has been standing in front of an audience since his youth - does one still have stage fright at all? And if so: What are his ultimative tips for all those who already shake their knees at the thought of talking in front of an audience? This and much more you can find out in part two of our interview with actor Cornelius Obonya. Be curious!

Lukas Keller and Cornelius Obonya

Lukas Keller (left; CEO presono) and actor Cornelius Obonya (right) have been friends for many years.

Finally presentation professional! We will tell you how...

A good charisma is, according to Cornelius Obonya, very difficult to learn. But anyone can still become a good presenter. How? With our tips for a convincing presentation. Click now on the picture below and secure your individual presentation coaching!

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