Saturday, July 28, 2007

What You Do is So Loud I Can’t Hear What You Say

As speakers, we get so focused on trying to say the right things that we sometimes forget our body language or delivery. When this occurs, our audience may get mixed messages. For example, our mouth says we are excited about the benefits of our product or vision, but our presence (body language and delivery) does not exude excitement. Our body may instead be communicating anxiety. There’s an old saying you may have heard. “What you do is so loud I can’t hear what you say.”

Lets talk about the make up of communication and what are audiences are "hearing. Did you know only 7% of communication is verbal? You're probably thinking what is the remaining 93%. The remaining make up is 55% visual (body language) and 38% vocal (tone of voice). That’s according to research done by a professor at UCLA.

Why listen to the research and our body language? People are watching our actions. This is why it is very important that our body language sends the same message as our words. When the two match, we have a greater opportunity to increase our stage presence, and connect with our audience.

Here are 7 surefire ways to increase your stage presence:

1. Eliminate distracting behavior. Ever listen to a speaker jingling coins in their pocket or clicking a ballpoint pen while speaking? The problem – listeners are too busy focusing on the distracting behavior to hear the message.

2. Be Real. Don’t try to imitate another speaker -- audiences love originals!

3. Make eye contact. Eye contact helps speakers connect with the audience; plus it is important for developing credibility.

4. Use vocal variety. Speaking in monotone voice is a sure way to bore the audience to tears. Quicken the pace in some areas to create a sense of urgency during a speech and implement pauses to add emphasis. Wonder why people can listen to great speakers for hours? Well, great speakers use vocal variety to throughout their presentation.

5. Use vivid language. Paint the picture for the audience. Don’t just say, “I saw the car drive off.” Say, “ The fire-engine red car sped off with it’s tires smoking.

6. Use action words. Action words bring life to your message. Some examples are accelerated, established, and analyzed.

7. Smile. Smiling is a great way to connect with the audience and put them at ease. People who smile also are more approachable and that’s especially important when trying to persuade others to use your product or follow your lead.

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