Don't hypnotize your audience when you speak or tell storiesI once had a sales manager, Tim, who was explaining sales concepts to his team. He paced from left to right, paused briefly, then turned and paced from right to left, paused briefly again, then repeated the process.  Over.  And over.  And over.

After several minutes, Tim had settled into a rhythmic ‘cadence’, moving back and forth like the old video game ‘Pong.’ [If you’re under 40 year of age, ‘Pong’ was the first widely-purchased video game that kept us riveted for hours. Google it. You’ll be amazed at what passed for home entertainment in the 1970s]. I realized  I was feeling hypnotized.  I was no longer hearing Tim’s message because I was lulled into a peaceful, easy feeling.

For sales managers, this is not good.  Their job is to encourage and inspire [or threaten and cajole] their teams into higher production and activity. In Tim’s case, he could partially overcome this problem because he is a former Air Force officer, and has a commending voice. Also, I was interested in his subject matter.

Most speakers don’t have that luxury. As a result, audiences hypnotized by this kind of movement often miss key points and the overall message.

Unfortunately, this problem is pervasive with most presenters. Distracting gestures, excessive movement, and wasted energy are the rule, rather than the exception.  The result is that, at best, the audience does not completely absorb your message; at worst, they become irritated and don’t ever want to hear you again. Either way, you miss an opportunity to make an impact.

With regard to speech delivery, remember that in order to maximize your efficiency, you must Move with a Purpose.

When I coach clients, and point out their distracting gestures or extraneous movements, they are often surprised. They don’t realize what they are doing. “How do I stop doing that?” they’ll ask.

The obvious answer is “Well, just…stop doing it”.  Unfortunately, this simplistic answer doesn’t solve the problem.  The best solution to this delivery issue involves two steps:  1) video record yourself , and, 2) WATCH THE RECORDING!

This second point may make me sound like a smart-aleck, [and you’d get no argument from my family or friends on that point].  In this case, it’s justified.  Most people I talk with who’ve recorded themselves never watch or listen to the recording.  They’ll say “But I hate watching myself and I can’t stand the sound of my voice!”  To quote one of my mentors, Darren LaCroix, “Really? You hate to listen to yourself?  Well, too bad.  Because WE had to listen!  So should you!”

All kidding aside, watching video of yourself is one of the most effective methods to solve the problem of hypnotic gestures and movement.  It’s one thing for a coach to point these out to you, it’s another for you to see it. Once you see these distractions, you’ll be horrified. OK, that’s a bit strong, but you will be motivated to change

To get an even deeper understanding of these distractions, re-watch the video two more times, the first with the sound off, and the second time with the video speeded up.  Distracting gestures or movements jump out at you when they’re played at faster speeds.

With knowledge of these habits, you can quickly make changes and improve the quality of your delivery.

The problem of hypnotizing your audience is all too common. With some concentrated work, though, you can uncover the flaws in your delivery, make improvements and become a speaker who becomes dynamic when you deliver your presentations.

What are your experiences with ‘hypnotic’ speaker? Feel free to leave your thoughts below:



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Stand OUT! Speaking tip: Stop Hypnotizing Your Audience! ultima modifica: 2013-02-02T23:23:14-05:00 da Michael Davis