The E-Factor…

the presentation coach

How do I connect…

Ask yourself how often you are creating an emotional connection between you and your audience.

What do you see, what story does this evoke?

What story did you make up about the picture?

How does it make you feel?

A man working, holding his head in pain. I know you want to know the story behind those facts…

Who’s the man? What’s on the computer screen? Why is he holding his head, is it pain or ? And most importantly is the ending to this story happy or sad?

Don’t know what you decided but for me, holding his head that way means tiredness, pain and can only mean one thing… frustration and possible failure late at night.

We’re all the same, you, me, we see the world through a mist of facts but we make sense of it with our emotions. We make up stories about what we see and hear all the time, always relating to an emotional connection, something in our past.

Our memories and past emotions connect all of us. Expressing emotion is to be human, to be authentic.

When the audience gets that you are authentic that you are willing to “Show Up”, they then identify with you and you project, or product.

Writers and Playwrights use our emotions…

“If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”

Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

Filmmakers use emotions…

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain… Time to die” The replicate Batty from the film Blade Runner.

Show Up

In today’s business world, I believe that we are increasingly being called upon to show up. Because we now communicate so much by e-mail, voice mail, fax, and via the Internet, I believe the need for interpersonal communication is continually growing. The more we use technology to communicate with each other, the greater our need for face-to-face communication, and the more we crave the authenticity of personal contact. Nothing replaces the nuances of tone and pitch of a human voice or the facial and physical expressions of the communicator. But because we are using these skills less and less, we are losing our ability to “Show Up”. As a presenter should I use emotions, definitely, what is the greatest risk, well you will be revealed as human, some one I can trust to be real.

Why Should I?

It can be scary to stand in front of an audience and show your emotions, you’re letting them see the real you, authenticity connects us. It is so much easier to deliver your presentation from behind the protective cloak of professional formality and facts. Here are a few reasons for you to take a few risks and lift your presentations to the next level.

Emotions let the audience know that you are human – the audience doesn’t want to listen to a fact-spitting machine, they want to connect with a living breathing human being. Just like them!

Emotions help us to remember – we remember things that have emotional connections, for instance… what scene do you remember most from Pixar’s WALL-E? I bet it’s the scene where WALL-E losses his programming and EVE works to bring the hero back to life.

Why do most of us remember scenes like that? Because they move our hearts giving it an emotional tug and then its in our memory forever. If you want the audience to remember your presentation, your main points, your call to action, give them a few emotional hooks to remember.

Mother Theresa once said, “If I look at the mass of people, I will never act. If I look at the one person, I will.”

Think of promotional campaigns for children’s charities that you have seen on TV. Do they start by giving you lots of statistics? No. Instead, they introduce you to one or two children. You learn something of their lives and the hardships that they face. You become emotionally involved. Then you are given the statistics and told that there are other children in the same position, and that you can make a difference.

Does presenting the information this way make it more likely that people will give? According to studies cited by the Heaths in Made to Stick, yes. But, why?

The researchers theorized that thinking about statistics shifts people into a more analytical frame of mind. When people think analytically, they’re less likely to think emotionally. And the researchers believed it was people’s emotional response to [the child’s] plight that led them to act.

Now I can hear some of you saying that an appeal for donations to help children is one thing, but how do I get my audience to care about my message when I am talking about accounting rules or latex paint or any one of a number of other things that are, at first blush, not conducive to an emotional response? OK I hear you and the most basic way to make people care is to form an association between something they don’t yet care about and something they do care about.

And although different things matter to different people, there is one obvious thing that matters to all of us: US!

People matter to themselves. I am sure it will come as no surprise, that one reliable way of making people care is by invoking self-interest. Touching upon what matters to them.

Whatever it is that you are speaking about, be sure that your audience understands why they should care.

John Caples; the highly recognized marketing master noted companies often emphasize features when they should be emphasizing benefits. “The most frequent reason for unsuccessful advertising is advertisers who are so full of their own accomplishments (the world’s best seed!) that they forget to tell us why we should buy (the world’s best lawn!).

An old advertising maxim says you’ve got to spell out the benefit of the benefit. In other words, people don’t buy quarter-inch drill bits. They buy quarter-inch holes so they can hang their children’s pictures.

How can we make people care about our ideas? We get them to take off their Analytical Hats. We create empathy for specific individuals. We show how our ideas are associated with things that people already care about. We appeal to their self-interest, but also we also appeal to their identities – not only to the people they are right now but also to the people they would like to be.

Use the E-Factor!

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