Friday, May 20, 2011

Authentic Speaking

For the past few months, we've seen what it takes to make a powerful presentation
  1. Simple statement
  2. Shakeup
  3. Stories
So we go to the drawing board every week in crafting our message, do a quick practice, and then execute on Sunday... only to see little enthusiasm in the audience.

What gives? Maybe there's something wrong with them. Maybe there's something we're not doing.

The Calm After the Show

Body language is the doing that goes with the talking, and without it, our presentation may have a powerful message but will also appear artificial. 

Fear not, for communication Dr. Nick Morgan is here to help. In a recent article, he suggests we focus the following four aims.
  • Being open to the audience: Imagine what it's like to give this speech to someone you're comfortable with; it could even be Pramukh Swami Maharaj if we've had that opportunity. Focus on making that your demeanor prior to presenting.
  • Connecting with the audience: Let's picture ourselves trying to talk to a balak who isn't being all too attentive. Do we need to think to try to capture his attention? Not quite. We do what feels natural, like raising our voice or moving closer. That's the natural touch we should have in our presentations.
  • Being passionate about the topic: Think about what's at stake with this presentation and what results we want our presentation to deliver. We want our audience to grow closer to our guru, and if we genuinely feel it, it will come through in word after word of our delivery.
  • "Listening" to the audience: If it's sabha, we know what people expect with different individuals who are assigned to present. What do people expect as we present - a quick nap or a quick burst of energy? By picking up on nonverbal cues in the audience, we can maximize our delivery through changing up our delivery, asking an impromptu question, or adding/removing parts of our talk.
In short, let's try to keep these four principles in mind as we go up to present, be in sabha, shibir, or school. These finer points will inevitably come in handy.

1 comment:

  1. A great way to keep the attention of the audience as well as gauge where they are at is to make consistent eye contact. Nothing is better than that. Move your eyes from one person to another until every area of the audience feels like you've made eye contact with them. It helps them connect with you and empathize with you as the guy (or gal) up in the front.