What do you think of when you hear the word emotional?
The idea of being emotional can connote being out of control. While that is sometimes true, it also refers to engagement and excitement. And that is something you want your listeners to feel.
As a speaker, you want your audience to be emotional, but there are many ways to show emotion without being out of control. Likewise, there are many ways to evoke it.
Creating passion in an audience means your presentation will have more impact and stay with the listeners long after they are gone. It increases the likelihood that they will buy into what you are telling them or make the choice to use your services over someone else’s.
What is important to you about your idea? Why should your audience care about it? What makes is better than other, similar products on the market?
Don’t leave your audience wondering about any of the questions. Answer them in your speech.
Show that you care about your topic by being so well prepared that your words come naturally rather than from a piece of paper on the podium. This allows your audience to learn what excites you. Enthusiasm is contagious!
Make eye contact with people in your audience, one person at a time, and smile when it feels natural. Most people react to a smile with a smile of their own which is a powerful brain trigger for endorphins.
Try scanning the crowd and stopping with your gaze on one person each time you change topics or make a transition.
Your body language can stoke excitement in an audience. Don’t pace back and forth, but do move around, engaging different sections of the listeners, focusing more of your attention on one area of the group when you are closer to them before moving to another.
Use gestures to convey emotions and excitement about your project. Step forward when you want to emphasize an important point.
Keep your visuals simple. Slides should be clean and bright, easily understood. Use no more than a half dozen words per slide. Look for compelling images that will have an emotional impact. There shouldn’t be so many words on your slide that you feel compelled to read from it.
Active verbs and descriptive adverbs will evoke more attention. Look for ways to use them in your speech.
Tell your audience that you’re excited to be here, not just happy. And then tell them why and what excites you.
Consider why your audience is there. What do they hope to gain — especially emotionally — from you? Insight? Knowledge? What do you want them to leave knowing or believing? That your product is the one they should choose? Why? What makes it different?
In closing, let me tell you why emotional buy-in from your audience is so important: it means you can influence people when it comes to making decisions.
A friend of mine recently went looking for some flooring to install in her new home. She visited a big-box store and two independent dealers. The second independent dealer won her business. Members of his family worked for him. He had his products in his own home and his dog spent the day at his company. All of these spoke to him as a person and helped him make an emotional connection with my friend. Although he wasn’t making a speech, per se, he was giving a presentation. Without even knowing it, his own enthusiasm for his business and his product helped make the sale.
Before your next presentation, try thinking about how you can evoke emotion in your audience. Let me know what you did and how it worked for you!