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Forget body language and eye contact

Forget body language and eye contact

by Moyra Mackie on March 7, 2016

Whenever I ask clients about how they might improve their communication skills, particularly listening and presenting, their answers tend to include:

“eye contact…body language”

And I always tell them to forget these comforting, but distracting, ideals.

Why?

Because when it comes to real communication, intention is everything

Thinking about body language is starting in the wrong place.  The place to start is with really caring about the other person.

When you care about the other person, nothing else matters as much.  Your body language will mirror your intention.

Stress impedes connection and hampers communication

It affects our listening certainly and I can provide you with ways of helping you to focus your attention and check your intention here and here.

Instead, I want to focus on the times we need to make a connection when presenting.

Presenting is nothing more than the ancient art of storytelling

Our brains are hardwired for stories. A well-told story releases oxytocin, a chemical response in our bodies also referred to as the hug hormone, cuddle chemical, or moral molecule.

Facts don’t persuade, powerful stories do


When we hear a carefully crafted story, research shows we are more likely to trust the situation and the storyteller, and more likely that we will take whatever action the storyteller asks us to take.

Every statistic is hiding a wonderful story

You might be an auditor, lawyer, IT specialist or project manager.  Facts and statistics will be plentiful, but oxytocin-free.

Your role as a storyteller is to find the tale hiding in those dry statistics and endless bullet points and make it come alive.

All great stories come in three Acts, so here are the three things you need to focus on:

Presentation equation

Content

Don't let your presentation be the graveyard slot

Presentations: How not to die while speaking in public

Whilst it is your message, success lies in focusing on what the audience wants.  If you don’t believe in your content, the audience won’t either.  If you didn’t care enough to really consider the audience, they won’t care enough to really listen. Here are five tips to turn your presentation into a compelling story.

 

Character

Directing traffic

Ten tips for hands free presentations

Who are you?  How can you connect on an emotional level with your audience and make them care? The secret lies being courageous enough to be vulnerable;  to show the audience who you truly are. Here are ten tips to show character, without focussing on what you’re doing with your hands.

 

 

 Craft

Have you really prepared?

Powerpoint: crack cocaine for poor presenters?

Humans have been communicating with images for thousands of years. Whenever I see poor design and interaction with visual aids, I believe  the presenter doesn’t really care about the people listening, or respect their time.

So here are five essential rules to produce visual aids that support your message and help your audience.

 

Great communicators and great presenters are not born, they practice

They practice a lot.  But even more importantly, they actively seek feedback and then act upon that feedback. No matter how tough that might feel.

But I can personally vouch for that fact that when you make a real, heart-felt connection with an audience, when you see that you have changed their minds, all that hard work is really and truly worth it.

 

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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