That non-verbal communication means they are watching and listening to your presentation! That’s what you want!
The Goal of All Communication:
Verbal, Written, or Visual is the same. We want the recipients, as quickly as possible, to GET IT! They may not agree with everything you present. They may not agree with anything. Unless they GET IT! there cannot be a productive conversation going forward.
Always take the temperature of the audience.
You may be the only person in the room speaking, but those you are presenting to are communicating with you, also. It’s imperative to read their body language and facial expressions to ensure they are GETTING IT!
- Noticing someone has a confused look on their face or is scratching their chin indicates they most likely didn’t understand what you just said. Repeat it in a different manner and see if their expression changes.
- If someone’s arms are crossed, they probably disagree with you. That’s OK, but check that position later to see if it’s changed.
- Someone looking directly at you but with seeming unfocused on your message can mean they are bored.
- If the audience member is fiddling with something, they have lost, at least for the moment, interest in your talk.
- The same is true for someone tilting their head from one side to another.
- Drooling and snoring are not positive signals either!
When delivering your talk, look one attendee in the eye, finish a thought, and move on to another person in a different part of the room. Look them directly in the eye. Finish a thought and move on. Repeat throughout your presentation.
Our attention span is short, very short. It’s one of the reasons TED Talks are eighteen minutes. The World Champion Contest for Toastmasters has contestants delivering seven-minute presentations. Instant coffee isn’t quick enough for some folks!
For these reasons, your speech, in addition to being informative, must be entertaining. We enjoy being entertained, don’t we? If you, the speaker, are entertaining the audience, the odds of them GETTING IT! are increased.
One great way to be entertaining is to Tell Stories!
The formula for the body of a speech is: Make a Point – Tell a Story!
Nancy Duarte says, “Personal stories are the emotional glue that connect your audience to your message.”
Everyone has experiences and valuable lessons from those experiences others can learn from and would love to hear. The key to gathering those stories is to be, as they say in Yoga, “Always present and in the moment.” When those stories occur in real time, capture them, and place them in a file in the ‘hard drive’ of your brain. When making a point in your presentation, grab that ‘file’ and tell the story to reinforce your point!
Your story should have five elements: The characters, the setting, the plot, the conflict, and the resolution. These essential elements keep the story running smoothly and allow the action to develop in a logical way the audience can follow.
Incorporate the above suggestions into your presentations to get your audience Leaning In and they will GET IT!
About the Author
Fred E. Miller is a speaker, a coach, and the author of the book,
“NO SWEAT Public Speaking!” and “NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!”
Businesses, Individuals, and Organizations hire him because they want to improve their
Networking, Public Speaking, and Presentation Skills.
They do this because they know:
Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.
They also know:
We perceive really great speakers to be Experts, and we like to work with Experts.
He shows them how to:
Develop, Practice, and Deliver ‘Knock Your Socks Off Presentations!’ with –
- Keynote Speaker
- Workshop Facilitator
- Breakout Sessions
- Public Speaking and Presentation Coaching
- Lessening The Fear of Public Speaking with – NO SWEAT!
- Crafting Your Elevator Speech, Floor by Floor with – NO SWEAT!
- Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.
- We are All Self-Employed!
Fred E. Miller