People ask me all the time “how do you get the audience to be engaged and purchase from you at the end?” I have reverse-engineered what I had done from the front of the room and built my coaching program using these exact principles. I recognize that much of what I had studied in my master’s program in therapy, was working in my favor, things like building rapport quickly, being aware of your non-verbal communication, and tonality, so that you appeared open, safe, and could lead them out of their pain.
The first 90 seconds of being on stage are the most crucial, the audience is staring at you, looking for a place where you are not confident, dishonest, or not credible, this is a natural thing when humans are choosing to listen to someone, they want to know they are with someone who is the expert that they are claiming to be. When you enter the room or are heading towards the stage, they are all watching you, their amygdala is trying to figure out if you are confident in your message, if you have something to hide, or if you are the expert you are claiming to be. You have to show them that you have nothing to hide, you are open and vulnerable with your body language, and you truly believe in what you are saying. The problem is your amygdala is playing a trick on you at the same time, your body is releasing the chemicals as if you are in fight or flight, many speakers actually self-sooth themselves with body language that is killing their presentation. This can show up as holding onto the mic or the clicker for dear life, trying to cover the most vulnerable parts of your body (your torso), pinning your elbows to your sides, or worse yet standing behind a podium.
Our bodies can’t lie, your body will defy your wishes, and the audience is waiting to see just one second of that so they can discredit you and check out of your presentation. If in the first few minutes, you show the audience the most open body language, such as a hand raised really high exposing your side, belly, and armpit, they will automatically start to relax, and trust you. When you ask a question that you know most of the audience can agree upon and have your hand raised, have them look around and now automatically they have become a tribe. The audience is now more bonded with one another and the tribe includes you because you lead them all to the question with arms held high in agreement. This is the first step in building rapport with your audience, you have shown them open body language, bonded with them, and made them feel not alone, and maybe for the first time at a conference full of strangers. Non-verbal communication encompasses 50% of what the audience is internalizing during your talk.
Your Monotone Voice is Killing Your Speech
The second most important part of your presentation encompasses 35% of your communication, is vocal tonality. If you aren’t using these four things you are killing your audience with a boring monotone sound.
The tone depends on the amount of air that is coming out of your mouth, this can make you sound like Marilyn Monroe with too much air, which takes away your authority. Pitch is how high or low your register is, we have the range of a deep chest voice like Sam Elliott up to a high head voice like Mariah Carey.
When you speak high you lose credibility and if too low, then you sound condescending. Volume is where you resonate with your audience, they want to feel you, with volume changes you can draw them in close by being quieter, and when you are louder you literally resonate vibrations of sound in their bodies. Pace the rate at what you speak, when you slow down and stretch out important words and when you speed up through the words that aren’t as important. When you use these components in your communication intentionally, you create a melody, and if you think about it most of us can recall every lyric to a song, but can’t remember what we ate for breakfast, that is because melody unlocks the episodic part of your memory, so your melodic voice makes you memorable.
Storytelling For The Audience
The best and easiest way to deeply connect with anyone is by telling your story. Telling your story accounts for 13% of your communication and when done well, is the glue that pulls it all together. Telling your story is a perfect way to reveal your character and your values without having to tell them boastfully. Sharing a story about a time when you were brave, the audience draws their own conclusion that you were brave, then they choose you. If you keep your story going and show yourself as the hero on the journey, they keep choosing you, so why wouldn’t they choose you at the end to purchase from you? Telling your story is where you share that you can lead them because you know where they have been and have the solution to their problem, this is critical in the purchase from you or not.
When you tell your story your brain starts to elicit Oxytocin, the same chemical that bonds moms with their brand new babies, it’s the feel-good chemical, think about the last time you shared something deeply with someone you felt intimate with, you feel good, cared for, and bonded. When you tell your story in a compelling way, where you bring the audience on a journey, they are searching for where in your story they connect with you on a commonality when they find it and are now thinking about a time they experienced what you are talking about, they release their own oxytocin and bond with you. Telling your story in a compelling way isn’t that difficult but so many speakers have it wrong. They tell their story from the first-person perspective, nobody cares about you, they care about themselves and solving their problem. No matter what race, sex, age, or culture you are, the things we all have in common, the human experience, you can connect even if the person hasn’t experienced the same circumstances. As humans, we have thoughts, feeling, and experience things in our physical body that are all the same. When you share your story with these three important statements: What were you thinking? What were you feeling? What were you experiencing in your physical body? You will instantly connect with any audience.
You can now see it’s not what you say, its’ how you say it. These techniques not only work on stage, but they also work in everyday communication. Deeply connect with everyone that you come into contact with, in this way and you will build more influence, impact more lives, and ultimately make a difference.
You can work on this with Erin’s Support Book a call with her today: https://calendly.com/erinlomanjeck/1-1-coaching-call and watch this short video: https://youtu.be/51TRWVnKN9w
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