Remember that old trick to picture your audience naked while public speaking? I have always thought that was possibly the worst advice ever given. Multiply that horror tenfold when your conference room is filled with managers and directors whom you support.
I spent last Thursday and Friday in what could have been the most terrifying of all workshops…learning to be my own brand, engaging my listeners, leveraging my body language, and persuading my audience to acknowledge my vision. Sounds like a nightmare, right? Actually, I didn’t hate it.
While I thoroughly enjoy believing that everybody is interested in what I have to say, it’s very humbling to find out that’s not so much the case. Thanks to workshop facilitator, Tamara Jacobs, I’ve learned that my content accounts for only 7% of my effectiveness. The remaining 93% of my success is dependent on my verbal style (38%) and my non-verbal or “personal packaging” (55%). By the way, it’s the same for you.
What does all of this mean? In a nutshell…smile more, speak emphatically, connect with your audience, dress professionally, pause often, tell a story, believe in your objective, don’t rely on slides, gesture appropriately, ditch the laser pointer, and stop using words like just, briefly, kinda, and lil’ bit.
Think you have already mastered these skills? So did I…until I gave two entirely different presentations while never cracking a smile, speaking barely above a whisper, and folding my hands as if I was going to bust a tune from “The Sound of Music”. I honestly wouldn’t have believed it until I saw the bloody evidence for myself. Oh yeah, did I mention that these sessions were recorded for future group critique (a.k.a. humiliation)?
My former self would have dove into the sea of other red-faced losers, but I have chosen to embrace my new knowledge and will not soon forget the lessons learned from Ms. Jacobs. The next time I am tasked with trying to persuade the VIPs in my company to fund my next big idea, I will bid adieu to Julie Andrews and be memorable for the right reasons.