The most powerful communication combines both intellectual and emotional connections. For effective public speaking, whether your audience is one or 1,000, you must connect with your audience emotionally. Consider how you might put these three fundamental techniques for emotional connection into practice:
For a small audience around a boardroom table, practice this strategy, called “piece-of-the-pie” eye contact: look at different individuals as you deliver each thought, idea, or phrase. Interestingly enough, the same holds true for a large audience, with a slight twist… As Jerry Seinfeld often observed, you need to play to the cheap seats first. Continually connect with the people at the back or in the balcony. Let them know, that you know, they’re there. They will stay with you, even when you’re interacting with audience members who are seated in the front.
Record your next presentation, and count how many times you say “I.” Note any instance where your language could have been more you-focused. If you work from the perspective that nobody cares about you, they only care about themselves, you can never go wrong! Rather than saying, “I am going to talk to you about what I can offer through my product/service…” try “In the next 30 minutes you will learn…” or “In this session, you will discover…” Even if it is just the switch of a single word, you will be astonished at the difference it will make in your presentation.
As human beings, we are programmed from birth that a story is a treat. No matter what culture we come from, we all grew up hearing, “Brush your teeth; get in your jammies; hop into bed, and Mommy/Daddy/Grandmother/Auntie will come tell you a story.” When you perfect your storytelling skills, you enable your conversations, presentations, and business communications to tap into the “reward” part of people’s brains, creating an immediate emotional connection.
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