- July 12, 2016
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You didn’t get to where you are by being safe all the time. Did you?
You took risks.
You let your passion drive your career decisions.
Your obsession with helping your customers and growing a stand-out team put you a step ahead of your competitors.
So why are you so boring when it comes to your presentations?
I’m talking to you.
The guy who stays inside the circle of data and facts.
The woman who keeps her excitement tucked away because she doesn’t want anyone to think she’s emotional.
I’m calling you out. For the sake of your customers and your team members.
There are too many people out there playing it safe when it comes to presentations. And too many audience members learning how to fall asleep with their eyes open because of it.
Emotion Is Not Weakness – It’s POWER
Many smart businesspeople – senior executives, especially – think that showing emotion is a sign of weakness. Or they worry that it’ll look like they’re covering up a lack of detail.
An emotional appeal is certainly not something your customers, team or staff are used to.
The truth, though, is that when your passion and energy are authentic, they make you more believable.
When your words are heartfelt, they move people.
And when your audience believes you and is inspired by you, they will be stirred to take action.
Make Your Presentation a Production
We humans love theatre. Sitting in the audience, we know we are in the hands of skilled performers who can convey emotions and passion that seem to be real.
We get caught up in the moment … and in the story.
Giving a great presentation isn’t much different than giving a great performance.
You have a stage. Props. A costume. You are the star.
You use your voice and your gestures to create your story.
Now use your emotions and your enthusiasm to build up that story and make your audience feel it – not just hear it or see it.
Give them an authentic emotional connection point.
That emotional connection is the key to building a genuine relationship with your audience.
In the sales world, the research results are undeniable:
- In a Gallup study of a leading supermarket chain, they discovered that customers with strong emotional connections to the store visited the supermarket chain 32% more often and spent 46% more money than those without emotional bonds.
- fMRI neuro-imagery shows that consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences) rather than information (brand attributes, features, and facts) when evaluating brands.
When you’re presenting internally, the research leads to the same conclusion:
- In this study, presentation audiences overwhelmingly responded in favour of starting a presentation by appealing to the emotions instead of reason.
- Arousing the emotions of your audience engages them and makes it easier to influence and persuade them. Plus, emotion-based arguments are easier for listeners to recall later than logic-based arguments.
But enough logic.
Let’s get back to the heart of the matter. Because the heart of the matter is what matters.
Your Success Is in the Value You Communicate
How do you make your audience connect with you emotionally?
It all comes down to a mindset shift.
Shift your focus from conveying information to giving value.
In other words, shift your thinking from I to you.
That starts with knowing what your audience wants and needs. Then, help them get it.
- Tap into your genuine enthusiasm for the subject you’re speaking about, and let it come through in your words.
- Tell personal stories, or use analogies and metaphors to bring points to life.
- Use humour.
- Use meaningful visuals (i.e. stay away from abstract imagery and instead use photos and illustrations).
- Don’t just memorise your presentation. Use the emotional feedback from your audience to figure out what is working and what is not – and adjust. And remember, emotion actually requires less cognitive effort than logic!
Most important, share the value of your subject with the audience. Remember, data means nothing until you explain why it matters.
Business and sales expert Bob Burg breaks this down to five elements of value:
- Excellence – bringing your authentic self to the presentation
- Consistency – being authentic throughout every interaction
- Attention – attention to detail, and understanding that people are individuals
- Empathy – identifying with the audience’s feelings (putting yourself in their shoes)
- Appreciation – making people feel good for being there
Notice that “give a boring presentation with lots of facts and figures” is not on the list.
In his book The Go-Giver, Burg also talks about how people will buy when the value they perceive they are getting is greater than the value they are giving in exchange for it.
Maybe you’re not asking for money in your presentation – but you’re still asking the audience for something. Their time. Their attention. Their concern. So you still need to make sure the perceived value of your presentation is higher than the “cost” you’re asking them to pay.
Instead of giving another dry, boring presentation, seek to make a stronger connection with your audience through authentic emotion.