Picture you’re on a set for a commercial shoot. It’s a “video village” collection of director’s chairs and monitors. 36 professionals from makeup, hair and wardrobe to teleprompter & script editors to ad agency folks to the photography team to the director hover over their respective domains of production.
Such was the background for my week of coaching the talent on set for this large tech company.
The action starts. The talent begins to share his message. And… then… everything comes to a dead halt.
The ankle reveal.
The two producers, zooming in from Seoul, say, “We don’t like the talent’s ankles.”
They go on to comment, “The focus needs to be on his face and his content, and we are distracted by the half-inch of revealed ankles between his loafers and the European cut pants.”
What’s this have to do with you?
You’re probably not doing video shoots with 36-people production crews, BUT you are communicating as a leader all the time… AND DETAILS MATTER.
Little details that create big outcomes.
Your gestures – are you fiddling with your cuticles, wringing your hands, or pushing your hair repetitively behind your ears?
Your stance – are you swaying, standing more on one leg and then the other, pacing, doing a meaningless fox trot movement, or slouching?
Your eye contact – are you just looking at the power people in the room, staring out over the tops of audiences’ heads, or doing the eye dart maneuver?
Your setting/background in-person or virtually – are you fighting for your audience’s flea-sized brain cells due to distractions behind you?
The rest of the commercial.
Our video production stops for 55 minutes! Big discussions are held between the wardrobe people, the ad agency people, the on-set director, and the producers in Seoul.
My talent puts on a pair of socks.
Guess what? It was the right move. Your gaze never goes down to the guy’s feet (even though you never realize that his ankles cause a distraction).
Don’t get me started on how much time it took to select the pillows on the background couch.
A compelling presentation is NEVER just about your data.
4 questions to ask yourself – and answer (!) – before giving any speech
1️⃣ How much time do you have?
Your best friend when giving a presentation is your clock or timer.
Don’t: glance at your watch while speaking – that’s distracting for you and your listeners.
Do: prepare and practice your comments to fit within your time limit.
2️⃣ How much do they know or need to know about your topic?
Your stealth bomb on getting heard above the noise is all around meeting the needs of your audience.
Don’t: underestimate or overestimate the topic knowledge level of your crowd.
Do: your due diligence on finding out their interest, experiences, pain points and successes on whatever you are about to say.
3️⃣ So what? What’s in it for them?
My clients often miss this one: the ROI – the Return On Investment for your listeners.
Don’t: forget to share this ROI, near the beginning of your remarks, out loud. Don’t: make it hard on your crowd to understand what they’ll gain from you.
Do: tell us how you’ll solve some issue, help us be more efficient, save us time and headaches, improve our bottom line. Pick any of these that work for your message, or figure out how you will help us… and then tell us.
4️⃣ What do you want them to do, think, or feel as a result of your speech or digital message?
If you don’t move the conversation forward in some way, then whatever you’ve shared in your message is a waste of our time. One of my mentors, Jeanne Robertson, of blessed memory, was a humorist. Her Call To Action (CTA) was to make us laugh and help us find the humor around us, even when times are tough. Perfect.
Don’t: leave us hanging!
Do: understand your CTA and share that with us. What are our “next steps” after reading your email or listening to your message?
Next steps for you
Be compelling when you speak by sticking to your time limit, creating your message to meet the needs of your audience, sharing your ROI, and moving your conversation forward by adding your Call to Action.
You communicate in these three ways: visual, auditory and kinesthetic.
Your visual modality – your pics and YOU, either on a post, in person, or on a video or streaming platform.
Your auditory channel – what we hear you say.
Your kinesthetic approach – your movement.
In that same order, your audience comprehends what you’re showing, saying and doing.
Your participants watch you and your slides (visual mode).
Your team listens to you (auditory mode).
And, coming in last – your message registers with your audience by your gestures, stance and movement.
What makes you most memorable
Your kinesthetic mode. Even though this mode comes behind visual and auditory in the way you comprehend info, it’s your most powerful approach! We remember more of what you say and show when incorporated with planned movement.
The mistakes you make
You spend your communication energy in the first two categories – visual and auditory – at the expense of the final approach – kinesthetic.
Often you don’t even know what you’re doing spatially! The main offenders: pacing and the box trot! You walk from right to left and go back and forth and we, your audience, feel like we are watching a tennis game! OR, even more common, you shuffle around as if you’re tracing the edges of a box. You think this makes you look casual and at ease. But, this haphazard moving around telegraphs your nervous energy.
Your communication challenge
Move with purpose. Feel free to move around, but be strategic.
Next week I’ll blog more about enhancing your audience retention by the way you present kinesthetically.
Author: Karen Cortell Reisman is Founder of Speak For Yourself®, a communication consulting firm, and the author of 2 books on how to communicate. She lives in Dallas, Texas and paces only when she’s waiting for the elevator at her high rise.
This weekly Speak For Yourself® Blog Series is all about how to communicate on the stage, in your board rooms, on your virtual platforms, in meetings and on email. You’ve gained insights on the how’s, what’s and why’s.
But I’m not sure if we’ve ever unpacked how to get back your mojo after you’ve screwed up in any of the above communication scenarios.
How I could’ve answered Jill: “Jill – I’ve presented my Einstein keynote many times from La Jolla to Chicago to Montreal to Las Vegas to Jerusalem to Phoenix. It’s been well received, except to one crowd. It was at the Marriott World Congress Hotel in Orlando in 2010 on the main stage at our National Speakers Association Convention to 1,000 colleagues. Very Big Deal. Huge. NOT a place to fail. And … the speech did not resonate. It fell flat. And now, today’s dress rehearsal… it’s an updated version and many of the attendees in this upcoming zoom crowd were also at the 2010 Orlando speech.”
I decided that Jill and Barbara did not need to hear about my gremlins. BUT – maybe you do. Just maybe you’ve also had to face a group, again, after screwing up. How do you do it?
Some “How to get over your own gremlins” Advice
Admit when you’ve failed and figure out why it happened and how to recalibrate.
Talk to trusted friends/colleagues/mentors to gain insights; listen to their suggestions; and then embrace what works for you and gently lay aside what does not work for you.
Don’t give up. Sounds trite – but keep on keeping on.
Get better at your craft. Continue to grow. (I took improv classes, humor labs, kept speaking, consulting and writing, and I continue to attend almost every National Speakers Association meeting. Heck, I even became president of our own North TX Chapter of NSA!)
With this blog I officially let go of the negative influence of that Orlando speech. You heard it here!! I will only add it to my many experiences as a speaker and use it as a positive learning tool.
So, how did my current zoom presentation go? I’ll let Patricia Fripp, Speaker Hall of Fame, answer this question.
“Your presentation was nothing less than life changing. Your storytelling agility and emotional connect are as good as any speaker I have seen. As you know I am a 44-year member of NSA and listen to and study speakers. You receive the ‘Fripp 14’ out of a scale of 1-10. Feel free to use these comments to shamelessly promote yourself.”
Thanks, Fripp. I have! 😎
*Yes, I’m related to Albert Einstein and this keynote is all about hope, resilience and brassieres. You’ll just have to hear it. You’ll gain strategies on how to handle life’s craziness.
PS: And, thanks to Barbara, Jill, Robin, Ann, Jimmy, Nina, Judy, Harriet, Penni, Neal, Ilene, Caroline, Tasca, Derek, Blake, Heather, Brian, Andria, Izzy, and many more who have been my past dress rehearsal targets! It takes a village.
Author:Karen Cortell Reisman is Founder of Speak For Yourself® , a communication consulting firm, and the author of 2 books on how to communicate. She lives in Dallas, Texas and cannot explain the Theory of Relativity.
Did you know we offer a free 20-minute communication consultation?
Hybrid meetings “are easy to do poorly and hard to do well.” Harvard Business Review
Because you preside over and/or attend these meetings all the time we’ve blogged about 3 Best Practices for Hybrid Meetings. Here are three more Hybrid Meeting Engagement Tips to maximize your return.
Hybrid Meeting Best Practice #4 – Engage both in-person and remote participants
Ask yourself, “What do your remote participants need to see?” Answers include:
Any PowerPoint visuals
Faces of in-room attendees
Content created during the meeting from flipcharts to whiteboards
How to make this happen? Try NOT to have your in-person group connect in on zoom. They will soon realize they could just WFH… Work From Home. Rather… read on!
Dr. Shirley Davis, Global Workforce Expert
Hybrid Meeting Best Practice #5 – Have a strong facilitator
Dr. Shirley Davis did just that at our recent National Speakers Association – N. TX Meeting. She spoke to the assembled crowd, engaging all in-person attendees. Yet, periodically, she asked the Virtual Concierge to share what was going on in the Chat Room. She asked for the visual of the Zoom Room to be shown on our screen. The virtual group felt included, got their questions answered and their comments heard.
Deborah Gardner, CMP also suggests, “Learn to work all camera angles. More cameras will be involved at meetings to help the virtual audience capture a wider experience.” (Speaker Magazine July/August 2021)
Hybrid Meeting Best Practice #6 – Design meetings for all attendees
When you begin your meeting or presentation, you acknowledge all of your group … especially those online.
When you ask your in-person participants to do an activity, that is when you direct all of your attention to your virtual audience to work/talk specifically to them.
When you hear feedback from your group, you’ll be inclusive – getting comments from both your in-person and online community.
When your live audience goes on break, you have another opportunity to connect with your virtual attendees.
As this pandemic continues to morph you will resume some in-person gatherings. Even so, hybrid meetings will become a permanent part of how your business will function.
“Hybrid is not just a car anymore,” says Linda Swindling, J.D., CSP, a professional speaker and negotiation expert.
Welcome to the new and permanent world of hybrid meetings.
A recent McKinsey survey suggests that 90% of organizations will adopt some combination of remote and on-site work as they emerge from Covid restrictions.*
According to Harvard Business Review (HBR) – “Hybrid meetings are vastly more complex than meeting in-person or virtually. They are easy to do poorly and hard to do well.”
You will preside or attend these hybrid meetings. Here are three ways to up your game.
Hybrid Meeting Best Practice #1 – Make sure your audio rocks
You spend time making sure your video shows the best you and best background and best lighting. All well intentioned & important. BUT audio is king! If we can’t hear you and your attendees your meeting will fail. Invest in some good mics. We suggest the Blue Yeti mic (around $100).
Hybrid Meeting Best Practice #2 – Have a “Virtual Concierge”
Assign the responsibilities for all things technical to a virtual concierge. Sarah Michel, CSP writes in July/Aug 2021 Speaker Magazine, “Meet with this person to go over how you want to engage with your remote audience.” Have this person facilitate the chat room as well.
Hybrid Meeting Best Practice #3 – Do a tech check
Q: Why does everything work during your rehearsal and then sometimes NOT work in real time?
A: It happens. HOWEVER, without getting to the hybrid venue early and doing your tech checklist, you have a much higher chance for insanity. Note: “hybrid venue” may be your office or a hotel/We-Work suite/conference room, etc. Even in your own office we suggest a tech run-through.
Stay tuned for three more best practices on hybrid meetings to maximize your return.