Six Psychological Secrets to Public Speaking

This is a guest post by Bryan Kelly. He lives in Chicago and interviews experts like Michael Hyatt, Chris Brogan, and Jeff Goins about presentation skills. You can watch his web show and follow him on Twitter.

Regardless of your skill level, every platform builder can benefit from the six scientifically researched insights I’m about to share. I know my very good friend, Alisa, put these to great use.

Six Psychological Secrets to Public Speaking

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/starfotograf

Alisa is a vibrant, charming, whip-smart professional. However, when she’d stand in front of a group to share her brilliance, she would lock up and deliver a wooden presentation. It was extremely difficult to watch.

Knowing my love for presentations, Alisa asked me for some tips to help her improve. I shared six revelations about what goes on inside the mind of every audience member, each backed up by scientific research.

During her next presentation, her personality was set free like never before, because she better understood how people think, see, hear, and react.

Here are the six secrets:

  1. We follow leaders. When you’re the presenter, you’re given authority. The audience wants and expects you to lead them. What you do next is vital so you don’t lose their allegiance. Become a leader from the start and own it. Stanley Milgram’s controversial experiments in the early 1960s showed it’s very hard for most of us to resist authority. We’re simply wired to follow leaders.
  2. We instantly read people. Audience members size you up before you even speak, which makes it essential to carefully design your opening. A well-crafted introduction and confident body language inspire people to follow your lead throughout the presentation. The past 15 years of psychological study shows people make unconscious decisions about others in one second or less. Malcolm Gladwell explores this research in his book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking.
  3. We assign meaning to body movement. Knowing how to stand, move, gesture, and deal with nervousness conveys leadership, passion, and openness. Stand straight, head upright, breathe deeply, and record yourself on camera when rehearsing. Intentional practice leads to confidence. A 2009 study conducted by Pablo Brinol revealed that by simply taking a posture of confidence, people feel more confident. In her 2011 book, The Silent Language of Leaders, Carol Kinsey Goman explains how physical gestures help us be effective leaders.
  4. We pay attention to vocal tone. The way you say a phrase means as much or more as the words themselves. Great speakers have long utilized this secret to engage audiences through volume, modulation, articulation, and well-placed pauses. MIT professor Alex Pentland summarized his study of nonverbal communication in his 2008 book, Honest Signals and helped create a device called the Sociometer that monitors and predicts a person’s communication effectiveness.
  5. We imitate emotions. Two highly contagious emotions are passion and nervousness. Think hard about what you’d like people to feel, then exhibit that emotion. Those feelings will be conveyed through your voice and body language. Mirror neurons in our brain allow us to literally experience what others experience. It’s believed these neurons help us empathize with someone. Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran’s 2012 book, The Tell-Tale Brain, details the significance of these neurons and how they work.
  6. We sync brain patterns when listening. Our audience is more strongly affected by listening than by reading slides. Visuals should support what you’re saying, not interfere. Better to have people intently listening than distracted by bullet points and complex charts. A 2010 study by Greg Stephens put participants in an fMRI machine while listening to someone talking. The brain patterns of the listener began to sync with the speaker’s brain patterns. The longer this occurred, the deeper the comprehension.

Mastering these six secrets gives you the ability to effectively connect with any group of people when sharing your expertise.

Question: What do you think about these secrets—practical insights or psychological mumbo jumbo? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Stacey Siekman

    This is exactly what I needed to read this morning! It is amazing to me that I can stand and present in front of a very large group of people with such passion, but yet, I struggle with giving a 45-60 second presentation at a networking event? I have been working hard on how to laser focus a topic. I will apply these steps to the 45-60 second presentation! Any othe words of advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.

    • Jim Donovan

      Stacey,
      What if you stopped trying to give a “presentation” at a networking event and was just yourself?

      • Stacey Siekman

        Summed up perfectly! Thank you Jim for your encouragement. It is always amazing to me how quickly we fall into the “doing” instead of the “being”. It is nice to have the encouraging words, it is a helpful reminder to just keep moving forward!

        • Bryan Kelly

          Stacey—so glad this info connected with you this morning! Jim has some fantastic advice he’s given you. I’d also recommend that you think more about the other person (or people) you’re “pitching” to at a networking event. How can you help them? That is what will resonate with them.

          • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

            Yes, exactly. Great advice, Bryan.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I would shift the focus from myself to the audience … How can you help them? How do you want to leave them? This has really helped me.

      • Stacey Siekman

        This is the question that I will ask in all situations, not just in presentations. Thank you!

        • Bryan Kelly

          Of course—Michael will not steer you wrong on this! ;-)

      • Mike

        As a pastor I have the privilege to speak 4 or more times a week. I endeavor to stay focused on the mission of what I want to see happen in people’s lives instead of speaking well or feeling good about myself. My mission: “Help people become a growing disciple of Jesus and a fully engaged member of the church.” This mission keeps my focus on God and others and like Michael said above, less on me. That results in great impact.

        • Bryan Kelly

          Mike, even for those of us not in ministry–that is an excellent perspective to try and take.

          • Mike

            Thank you! It has certainly freed me from being “me” focused and has I believe helped unleash the very best of who God made me to be. I am always desiring to improve and your article has been helpful–thanks!

          • Mike

            One more thing…tackling the #1 fear among people (public speaking) and all other fears is not all up to us. If you know Jesus He gives you the power to speak, overcome, live–do everything every day.
            Just sayin
            PS Where do you find your power to speak?

  • Kirbie Earley

    While I don’t get nervous before public speaking (a surprise to me), I do find these to be valuable insights! I “know” these things, but I don’t always remember them! Great post – helpful!

    • Bryan Kelly

      Yep—it is always hard to implement the things we inherently “know”. It does take intentional practice and attention to use these concepts for elevating your speaking skills. Thanks for sharing Kirbie!

  • Jim Donovan

    Great post Michael. Every speaker and aspiring speaker needs to read these. Too many people are more concerned with reading their scripts than the delivery.
    When I first began speaking, I made the mistake of trying to give the audience all the information I could. Watching some of the greats, I realized people want to be entertained rather than taught. When I added more stories my presentations became much better.
    Of course, the best way to become a better speaker is to speak more.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      So true. I am amazed at home much you can improve if you just do it—over and over again.

    • http://markstruczewski.com/ Mark Struczewski

      Excellent points, Jim! I’ve heard it said that if people want to learn and not be entertained, they should take a class in college. LOL

      • Bryan Kelly

        Funny you say that Mark! I don’t remember any content from those types of classes in college. The ones that stand out are where the professor made it about the students making meaning of the lesson—not a droning 60 minute lecture.

        • http://markstruczewski.com/ Mark Struczewski

          You have a point there, Bryan. The very few lectures I remember were given by teachers who cared about their students. I had forgotten about that until you posted. It’s always about the audience… :-)

    • Bryan Kelly

      Going a step further on this—if you combine entertainment with actionable takeaways, you’ll connect with your audience in ways never imagined.

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        I agree. I don’t think entertainment alone has enough value anymore. It’s too easily come by. But if you can deliver a solid, clear message that meets an audience need AND making it entertaining in the process … that’s gold.

  • Erich Robinson

    Great practical insights, thanks for sharing!

    • Bryan Kelly

      Certainly Erich—I love this topic with great zeal! Glad you got something out of this today. And how fun is it to have cutting-edge research supporting these concepts?

  • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ Kim Hall

    When I think about the more powerful, passionate and engaging Toastmaster speakers I’ve heard, they exhibited several of these items. As I went through your list, I had several aha moments, realizing now why I was more connected and learned more. As always, thanks for the practical information!

    • Bryan Kelly

      You hit the nail on the head! At the end of the day, it is all about making a connection. Happy to have provided some practical info for you Kim!

  • Erich Robinson

    PS: I believe that Andy Stanley is a master at doing these things. I shared one of his resources on communication, Communicating for Change, on my blog earlier today.

  • Debbie Delulio Jones

    I’m printing this one, Michael, and just bought Carol Kinsey Goman’s book. Great points to learn as I prepare for upcoming speaking events. Now just have to learn how to not be nervous when perhaps I AM! :)

    • Bryan Kelly

      How awesome that the info in my guest post can help you with upcoming speaking events Debbie! We all get nervous. Mark Twain once said, “There’s 2 kinds of speakers. Those that get nervous and those that are liars”. It is how you channel that nervousness and prepare beforehand that makes all the difference. Michael shares his personal story about mastering nerves in my recent interview with him here: http://whatthespeak.com/michael-hyatt-podcast-interview/

      • Debbie Delulio Jones

        Thanks, Bryan. I’ll check it out. Also, love the Mark Twain quote!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I empathize, Debbie. I used to be terrified of public speaking! An easy way to start decreasing your nervousness is to change your dialogue. Instead of saying, “I’m so nervous,” start saying, “I’m so excited!” or “I can’t wait to encourage/inspire this group!” Even if you don’t believe it at first, your words will end up changing your emotions.

  • http://markstruczewski.com/ Mark Struczewski

    Excellent points. I can tell you that I believe in some sense that some people are natural speakers and others have to learn to be one. All through high school and college, I hated speaking in front of anyone. Then, something happened between graduating college and becoming a professional speaker, a switch flipped (it was 11 years between graduating college and becoming a speaker – although the switch flipped somewhere in the middle…maybe when I was a radio DJ). Now, I love speaking in front of people. I’m confident (but not overly so) and, as Dave Ramsey says, I truly have the heart of a teacher. I don’t know exactly WHEN this switch flipped, but I am so glad it did. Now, having said that, I’m still (and always will be) learning. I’ve had mentors (including Michael Hyatt in a long distance way), hired a speaker coach, read books (now reading Platform), seen seminars on speaking, etc. I want to be the best that I can be…my audiences deserve it. Thanks for this post. It was well done.

    • Bryan Kelly

      Thank you for sharing your story Mark. Indeed, we are all continually on a journey of learning (whether we recognize it or not). I appreciate that you think this guest post was well done!

  • http://www.paulbevans.com/ Paul B Evans

    Hey Bryan,

    Love those six especially #5.

    The ability to transfer emotion. Feel the audience. Have the audience feel our message, not just hear it – so critical. It’s definitely what excites me the most about presenting.

    • Bryan Kelly

      Hey Paul—thank you. I agree, #5 is one of my personal favorites. My favorite speakers aren’t those ones who are the funniest, most polished, or most thought-provoking. It’s the speakers who are most passionate about what they discuss.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Yes. Me too, Paul.

  • http://JonDHarrison.com/ Jon D Harrison

    While I love all of these points, #1 one is such a strong start. This is honestly, the absolute best re-framing of speaking I have heard – “Become a Leader from the start and own it.”
    Powerful!

    • Bryan Kelly

      Wow Jon, that is fantastic! And you’re right—when I wrote this guest post, I felt the subsequent points all hinged on #1. Glad to have you confirm. Now go out there and own it!

  • Zech Newman

    Great post Bryan. The imitation of emotions connected with me the most. Never thought about it like that very true.

    • Bryan Kelly

      Thanks for sharing Zech. It makes logical sense, but the neurological research makes it even more compelling to understand and master.

  • http://sukofamily.org/ Caleb

    Michael, I’m reading this as I prepare to speak this Sunday to about 200 people in my 2nd language! The thing I have noticed recently is the the idea of imitating emotions. If a speaker seems bored with himself and his content you can be sure his audience will too! Some speakers are truly excited about their material but they fail to show it. It makes a difference to plan for emotion sometimes. I often ask myself what is the most significant truth I’m trying to communicate and will people sense that it is important by the emotional cues I send?

    I used to also do a lot of public speaking with a translator before I could fluently speak Russian and I noticed that even with a translator people still picked up on the emotions I was giving off. So even if they don’t understand a word you’re saying they know how you feel about it and that’s significant!

    • Bryan Kelly

      So true Caleb, well said. Best wishes to you as you prepare this weekend. There are always cultural differences to be aware of when speaking, but the neurological research I cite is this guest post applies no matter what language your audience understands.

      • http://sukofamily.org/ Caleb

        Thanks Bryan! It’s true, emotions are pretty universal.

  • Ruchika

    Thanks for this! Really ass-kicking! Loved all the points and kind of getting the clear picture how it works! :)

    • Bryan Kelly

      Ruchika! You’re awesome. Did you see the tagline of my web show’s site at WhatTheSpeak.com? I’m all about helping people kick a** when they speak, present, or pitch. ;-)

  • Hanno

    Awesome! I get to give a presentation this Monday afternoon on a topic that I am not an expert on (but then again, in the past when I have given presentations on stuff I was proficient at I wasn’t great). So this will be very helpful. Thank you.

    • Bryan Kelly

      Good luck Hanno and let us know next week how it went by giving an update in the comments here!

      • Hanno

        Thank you Bryan!

  • Jason Dykstra

    Michael,
    You’re right, the imitation of passions is SO important. There were a few times I’ve spoken when I felt I was inarticulate and disorganized (and was!). But an unexpectedly large number of people came up afterwards telling me they really loved what I had to say because I was so passionate about it! They got excited because I was! There’s hope for any passionate person!
    Thanks,
    Jason

    • Bryan Kelly

      How cool is it to know that there is research to back this up? Before coming across the data a couple years before writing this post—I had always found this to be true. I’ve talked about things that I was jazzed about and things that I was not. Big difference between the two.

  • Daniel Pennington

    Great points…and let me add a thought.
    If I asked you to juggle one ball you could probably do it. If we added two or three others you would likely struggle. That’s what happens to speakers when they are trying to do several ‘jobs’ at the same time. They are constructing their presentation in their head, editing it, and performing it all at the same time. Like juggling the more balls we have in the air the more difficult it becomes. If instead we break the process into segments. We research our subject, the venue and the audience. We write our presentation. We edit it mercilessly. We practice it endlessly. We prepare whatever ancillary pieces we need, handouts, slide decks, props. Then and only then do we step on stage. At that point we are only actors performing from a familiar script. We can then focus on the audience, our body language, our tone, because long ago we did the research, writing and editing. When I see someone struggling on stage I think they have too many balls in the air.

    • Bryan Kelly

      No doubt. I’m certain we’ve all been there. Thank you for your reflections on this Daniel.

  • Deanna Moffitt

    Great post Bryan! Would make a wonderful frame work to a book.

    • Bryan Kelly

      Much appreciated Deanna. I like the idea.

  • http://www.sharktankpodcast.net/ TJ Hale

    Bryan,

    Excellent post – I enjoy exploring the resources and links you took the time to include.

    TJ

    • Bryan Kelly

      Fantastic TJ!

  • Philip

    Great insight. Loved the backing with articles and other sources.

    • Bryan Kelly

      Yes—ideas like this are good, but having data support them is powerful. When I first drafted the outline for these 6 secrets, it was really important to me that I provide those facts.

  • Whitney Rawls

    Great stuff. These are things we most often know but never apply. In the midst of presenting or speaking, we too quickly get caught up in the act and lose sight of really connecting.

    • Bryan Kelly

      Agreed—that is where practice comes in. I’m amazed at how many of us that don’t prepare enough for a presentation. That is half the battle Whitney.

  • Jane Barrett

    Great post! I have done some work with a voice coach and she taught me to do elongate my vowels to help make my voice more interesting. Also we did some breathing exercises to help me speak more from my abdomen and so my voice should sound richer and not as thin. I think both these tips work when I can remember!

    • Bryan Kelly

      Excellent ideas Jane. I was a vocal performance major in college and those kinds of exercises/training have helped me immensely with public speaking. Combine that with the 6 concepts I’ve outlined in this post and you’re well on your way!

  • Darren Plummer

    Nah, not mumbo jumbo at all! I especially resonated with Secret #5… I’ve noticed that the more passionate I am (usually… sometimes, an audience needs to be resurrected, lol), the more engaging an audience will be. It doesn’t matter the context or culture… African-American audiences might “talk back” a little more, but other cultures will engage as well, be it with smiles or laughter or what have you. Regardless, the audience tracks alot better when the speaker is passionate about what they’re presenting. Thanks so much for this!
    p.s. Stacey, I feel you!! I HATE when I am “put on the spot” to present something in that fashion! And Jim, thanks for your advice… that will probably make a big difference! :-)

    • Bryan Kelly

      Great comments here Darren. You’ve made my day—confirming that the content of my guest post here is not mumbo jumbo!

      • Darren Plummer

        Ha! Well, we’re all entitled to a bit of mumbo jumbo every now and then… but your post most certainly doesn’t fall in that category, my man. DEFINITELY appreciated it. Like Stacey said, it was right no time today! ;-)

        Michael Hyatt, I hope you’ll have Bryan back soon!!

  • Kay

    Michael, Thank you for providing us with six very beneficial things to consider about the underlying communication going on when we’re speaking – publicly or even privately. It sounds like so much weighs on those first impressions — not only the first few minutes on the platform, but even the impression people get of you when they first see you…eating dinner before the presentation, mingling with others, interacting with the event coordinator, signing books, etc. You know I got a lot out of this because I’m even printing this one out and putting it in my platform notebook for future reference!

    • Bryan Kelly

      Love it! I’m happy to hear that these 6 secrets will be of great assistance to you Kay. I’ve seen my friend Alisa put them to good use and they’ve been a huge benefit to me as well. Good luck!

      • Kay

        Bryan, I just saw that this was a guest post by you! So sorry I referred to Michael earlier. Kudos to you for a great post!

        • Bryan Kelly

          No problem Kay. When I wrote the post I thought, “How would Michael say this”? ;-)

  • http://choicewebsites.ca/ Kerri Gingerich

    I am preparing for a talk I have to give in November and your Secrets to Public Speaking have helped to ease my fears. I appreciate your willingness to share this valuable knowledge. God Bless!

    • Bryan Kelly

      You bet Kerri. I think you’ll find these tips very easy to incorporate as you prepare for November. Keep me posted on how it went – you can hit me up over at WhatTheSpeak.com.

  • http://www.lilykreitinger.com/ Lily Kreitinger

    Very helpful information! Will put this post in my speaker toolkit!

    • Bryan Kelly

      Great idea Lily, I hope the information I pulled together for this post today serves you well for years to come!

  • Poppy Smith

    I have just finished teaching an eight hour class to writers who are wanna be speakers. It was fun to read your blog and notice your SCORRE enabling statement using “can” and the six “how” principles of successful public speaking. I will be forwarding your blog to my attendees, asking them to notice your principles which I hope they began to learn in our class this past week!

    • Bryan Kelly

      Very cool Poppy. This post was intended to provide very actionable items that I wanted readers to incorporate right away the next time (or first time) they spoke.

  • http://www.benforsberg.com Ben Forsberg

    Great stuff! Now that I’m speaking each week, these are so helpful!

    • Bryan Kelly

      Thanks Greg. Sounds like you’ll use these secrets well. Please do me a favor and pass this helpful info on to anyone you know that also speaks regularly.

  • http://www.leadforwardonline.com/ Clint Pagan

    I am a new up and coming speaker and these are great tips to carry with me when entering into this new world. I had always heard the phrase, “Fight through nervousness with passion.”, now I understand why that was so powerful for getting me to overcome my fear and nervousness. Thank you for this post, it has helped me in this area. I am sure this is probably the weakest area for a lot of people. I know focus is a big issue for me when I get on stage. I see facial reactions and start focusing on those instead of my message. Thanks again!

    • Bryan Kelly

      Clint—I wish you well with this as you grow through experience and practice. As mentioned in an earlier comment of mine…It is how you channel that nervousness and prepare beforehand that makes all the difference. Michael shares his personal story about mastering nerves in my recent interview with him here: http://whatthespeak.com/michael-hyatt-podcast-interview

  • http://www.confessionsofaparent.com/ Mike Berry

    This is one of the best posts I’ve read on public speaking. Well done.

    • Bryan Kelly

      Thanks for such a great compliment Mike – I had a blast writing this!

  • Christina

    Thank you for this! I’m in the beginning stages of speaking to groups and while I feel fairly confident in front of adults, I’ve been asked to speak to a group of kids in the fall. Should I apply these concepts differently to engage them? Any tips will be highly valued!

    • Bryan Kelly

      Christina—first I commend you! Kids can be a tougher crowd than adults. The same concepts I’ve written about here do apply. The biggest thing to note is that kids have much shorter attention spans. Keep it short and sweet—definitely thinking through how you can both entertain and educate.

      • Christina

        Thanks. Will do.

  • http://www.karlaakins.com/ Karla Akins

    Thanks for the tips as I venture forth! ACK! Less than a second to give a first impression! YIKES!

    • Bryan Kelly

      Karla, that tip is meant to underscore how important it is to be prepared going into your presentation. So many of us go into these things thinking we can just wing it. You should check out my interview with Michael where he shares his personal story about dealing with nerves: http://whatthespeak.com/michael-hyatt-podcast-interview

      • http://www.karlaakins.com/ Karla Akins

        Thanks again!

  • http://www.buildandbalance.com/ Michael_N

    Very interesting. I think I have reservations about how these ideas will help the person who’s very nervous to speak in front of others. It seems to be more helpful to those who are not so nervous, but fairly unsure what they are doing up there. Definitely like and support the points though. Thanks for putting together a pretty unique post on the subject.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Michael, I’m not so sure I agree that it’s not helpful for the nervous speaker. Coming from a nervous speaker, I can see how secrets 1, 3, 4, and 5 can help the nervous speaker speak better publicly.

  • timothyfowler

    These six skills sound ‘right brain’ to me…i.e. MASTER AND THE EMISSARY

    • Bryan Kelly

      Interesting – I haven’t read this book, but I’ve heard of it. Will definitely have to check it out.

  • Guest

    Michael, these are great points. I would like to know strategies of how to overcome the paralyzing anxiety that attacks me when I speak publicly or in a panel interview. After about 15 minutes I begin to calm and do much better, but how do I begin at that point of confidence and calmness. Practice and visualization helps alleviate some fear, but it can also make me seem robotic and rehearsed; it may seem I lack passion about my subject. Thank you for the great topics you cover in your blog.
    Colleen

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I empathize with you. You might want to read this post: How to Get Over Your Fear of Public Speaking.

    • Bryan Kelly

      Back in college, I was a vocal performance major who ironically hadn’t done much performing prior to freshman year. Every week, I’d have to perform in the auditorium in front of a group of peers and it was quite nerve-racking. By the time I completed the 4-year program—I had faced those fears because of constantly being in that scenario repeatedly. Each time it got a little easier.

      While not specifically addressing your anxiety, this blog post from today touches upon this concept that you might find insightful:

      http://www.fullsailblog.com/how-to-practice-your-way-to-great-public-speaking/

  • http://www.jenniferrothschild.com/ Jennifer Rothschild

    Interesting. Because of my blindness, when I speak I have to use a stool to sit on as it allows me to orient myself to the stage. It certainly is not a “confident” posture as we typically might define it. My Dr. Phil (husband) tells me it puts people at ease, and it gives audiences a sense of an old (careful :) friend “teaching” and “helping” rather than “presenting or preaching.” We see pastors too taking on a less “confident” posture by sitting on stools (e.g. Andy Stanley), and dressing down. Some may thing of this as being more authentic, down to earth, approachable. Certainly something the millenial generation finds appealing.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Jennifer, while sitting on a stool may be considered a less confident posture, I think it can also relate confidence. It’s a balance but sometimes our presence becomes even more confident when we’re in a posture that is comfortable and familiar to us.

      And I want to say it’s awesome that you still speak and inspire people while blind. Many people would give up or think less of themselves. Congrats to going out there and being the best you that you can be!

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    Bryan, thanks for sharing these secrets. I struggle badly when I try to speak publicly. I find myself nervous and scared to death to be in front of others. If I begin using the secrets you mentioned, I think I can do better than I have in the past.

    • Bryan Kelly

      Joe – for many of us, public speaking can indeed be very challenging. It is good to hear that you’re working through this and I do hope that these concepts can help you as your prepare and rehearse. Best of luck!

  • http://SourcesOfInsight.com/ J.D. Meier

    Great breakdown and precision.

    Tone and cadence are a big deal.

    I’m always amazed by how much a crowd will mirror the speaker, or follow the cues.

    I remember switching gears when I was about to do a productivity and time management talk for future leaders.

    It was only about 180 folks, but it was enough where the mood mattered and would ripple through the crowd.

    I decided up front to make it more like a fireside chat, and speak as if talking to a friend across the table.

    I spoke slowly and deliberately. I acted as if there was no better place to be, than right here, right now.

    It worked wonders.

    I recieved a lot of feedback along the lines that my talk helped people really stay engaged and absorb the material. My peaceful calm approach made it OK for people to slow down, and be fully present … as if listening to a fireside chat, as if one friend, sharing some information that people can use.

    I think this also has the surprise factor since people were thinking a productivity talk might be all gung ho, but instead was more laid back, achieving meaningful results, and spending the right time, on the right things, the right way, with the right energy.

    • Bryan Kelly

      Thanks for sharing this story J.D. You hit the nail on the head and hearing this from you is a great anecdote to accompany what I’ve outlined in this guest blog post.

  • http://www.dianeyuhas.com/ Diane Yuhas

    We all like sheep … Makes sense to me.

    • Bryan Kelly

      Ha! Diane – you are cracking me up. Not quite that simple, but most of us are indeed wired this way. ;-)

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    After preaching 3 times in a row, I don’t know if I was imitating the 3rd congregations emotions or they were imitating mine, but we all looked tired today. :-)

    This is very practical information. The 1st two points are especially helpful things to know and remember.

  • lucy Smith

    she would lock up and deliver a wooden presentation.Casquette Vans