Whether you want to speak more effectively at business meetings or deliver a memorable school presentation, As We Speak (2012) outlines the proper techniques to win over an audience in a matter of seconds. You’ll learn how to move and talk with purpose and get your message across.
Let’s imagine that you’re about to deliver an important presentation on how to improve company performance. You’ve spent hours rehearsing and think you sound great; what’s more, the content of your talk is top-notch and should be of great benefit to the company.
But as you finish, instead of applauding, your audience sits bored and disinterested.
What went wrong?
One common mistake presenters make is that we assume our listeners will be automatically interested in what we have to say. It’s just not true. Instead, we should work to remind our listeners how they can benefit from what we have to say.
Likewise, a presentation can flop when it focuses too much on how ideas can improve the company overall, rather than benefiting the individuals involved. To keep an audience interested, focus on how your ideas will make their day more efficient and help them be more productive.
Another tip for getting a message across is to use stories, rather than relying on numbers and statistics.
Research tells us that the part of the brain responsible for decision-making isn’t the rational or analytical, left side of the brain. Rather, decision-making happens on the right side of the brain, the side that processes feelings, emotions, humor and stories.
So if you want to influence someone, tell them an engaging story!
The internet has made this technique even more relevant. Because there is so much information out there, you have to find an effective way to cut through it all. This means shifting the focus of your presentation: don’t dwell on what you’re telling people, but refine instead how you’re telling it.
To make sure you’re engaging with your listeners’ emotional side (the brain’s right side), think about what people will feel as they listen to your presentation. Introduce your idea with a creative origin story; make the whole presentation fun or lively. In sum, do whatever you can to liven up how you communicate your ideas to your audience!