One of the most powerful speaking tools that can touch the heart of an audience has nothing to do with words. It sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s true. This strategy can take others deeper into your story and create more connection to your main character(s).
What is the powerful technique?
Show the reactions of characters within the story.
This tool is used most effectively in movies and TV shows. During emotional sequences, characters’ facial expressions and posture will give away their feelings. There are countless examples of this. One that I recently saw is a clip from one of the most popular movies of the 1980s, ‘Flashdance.’
Before you read further, watch this clip. It’s five-minutes long. Before you watch, a couple of notes:
1) I’ve never watched the entire film, but I know the premise is a ‘Rocky-type’ story of a struggling young woman who aspires to be a classical dancer. This clip is the climactic scene in which she will either fail or succeed in her attempt to be accepted into a prestigious dance school.
2) For our younger readers, the black round disc she places on the funny looking apparatus is a record album, and the apparatus is a record player. In the Dark Ages, this is how we had to listen to music. Also, yes, people did smoke indoors then.
Here’s a link to the clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzALZjoIx0g. Enjoy a slice of ancient history and a valuable speaking lesson.
What do you know about the outcome of her audition?
If you said, “She got in,” how do you know? Nobody came onscreen to tell you.
Obviously, her enthusiastic reaction at the end of the clip tells you she ‘won.’
Let’s dig deeper. What was the reaction of the five judges when she first started? Did they need to say a word to understand their mood?
Clearly, the odds were against her.
What happened when she stumbled? How did she feel? How did the judges feel? Again, how do you know? Nothing was said.
There is one line of dialogue. I believe it’s Spanish, but I’m not sure. I do know it’s not English. Guess what? It doesn’t matter. I didn’t need to understand her words because her expression and posture told me all I need to know.
One of the most important parts of any story is the ‘cure’ scene. This is where the character(s) undergoes a change. How did you know the judges’ moods were changing? It was subtle, but powerful.
The tapping foot.
That simple reaction told you that they were being drawn-in to her dancing, they were coming to her side.
This short clip is an excellent example of how to use your face and body to convey emotion.
You don’t need to be an actor in a movie or stage play to use these techniques to connect with an audience.
The next time you tell a story in which you felt happy, let your face and body show that feeling. Use them to also show anger, disgust, fear and every other emotion the scene dictates. Your audience will be more tuned in to the feeling of the story, and they’ll be drawn into your world. This will open them up to hear your core message.
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