Balancing logic and emotion
Balancing logic and emotion
Aristotle coined the 3 pillars of influence as Ethos (credibility appeal), Logos (logical appeal), and Pathos (emotional appeal). Let’s start with logical appeal. This part of your presentation deals with design elements, both visual and verbal, that help your audience recall your main message and your supporting points.
Imagine this as the road map of your message. You want your audience to know where the final destination is, and how they will get there. Here are a few questions to help you navigate your design. Does your presentation hook tie back to the close? Is your theme verbally mentioned throughout the presentation? For example, Katy’s presentation theme is credibility. It’s the anchor of all her points and she brings it up, both in the intro and the close. Are your main points logically sequenced with smooth transitions between them? So, do you review Point A, you link it to Point B, you preview what Point B is about, and then you start discussing it? Do all your main points have solid evidence behind them? Even if you’re presenting to inform versus to persuade, you want to show you have knowledge and that you’ve done your homework on the research.
Your logical appeal will be stronger with evidence involving statistics, studies, graphs, surveys, all coming from relevant, recent, and credible sources. Finally, what’s the next step? After you’ve reviewed your main points, wrap up the logical appeal of your message by lining up next steps, or additional resources. For our Kinetiko example, Katy can do a few things. She can have a country expert that the executive team can contact as they proceed to make connections there.
She can also find a few suppliers for Kinetiko to contact, then start building relationships with. She can research a US industry expert for Kinetiko to partner with as they enter Brazil. For your presentation, similar information in the close will increase your presentation’s logical appeal, and make you a sought-out speaker for the organization. Now let’s discuss emotional appeal. Aristotle said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” This is, by far, the most telling of Aristotle’s quotes when it comes to presentations.
He speaks directly to the need for balance of logic and emotion, but emphasizes on the latter. As you plan for your upcoming presentation, consider these ways of educating the heart. Show emotion. Tone, body language, and overall energy have to show a high level of interest and enthusiasm for your topic. I referenced Albert Morabian’s research on non-verbals earlier in this course. The majority of your message will come across in your body language and tone of voice.
Choose an open, tall stance. Use large gestures. Maintain eye contact, and even lean towards the audience showing interest and connection. Vary your voice inflection as you tell a story, or you describe a scene. Change your volume to get attention, either high or low. Play with the rate of speech. Speaking fast is not always a bad thing. It communicates energy, but knowing when to pause, and knowing when to slow down is a gift.
Make sure you speak with conviction. Use a positive tone, and always show energy and confidence in your topic. Although emotion is important, always consider the context of your audience and match the appropriate intensity of emotion. One last note on showing emotion has to do with your facial expression. Depending on your comfort level, feel free to be animated. If you’re talking about surprise, show it. Fear, show it. Concern, do the same.
As we’ve learned, meaning is translated faster in non-verbals. If face and body don’t show the words, you’ll never be able to reach your audience’s heart. Speak emotion. Use captivating stories. Choose one that you’ve experienced or ones that you lately read about in the news. Always connect the stories back to the central theme, helping your listeners follow along. If a story doesn’t come to mind, use a vivid example.
Choose your language wisely, finding words that are visually engaging and alive. For example, there’s a difference between describing a person as polite versus relentlessly pleasant, or a firm handshake versus a vigorous handshake, or a mean-spirited comment versus a vitriolic one. With both stories and examples, always gauge the audience and find examples that will speak their language.
In my case, the examples I use with a group of executives will not resonate for a group of my college students. Use language tools that will make your content engaging. Winston Churchill was the father of powerful language, and he used tools such as alliteration, “Pitching the Perfect Proposal” as a title I’ve used for a presentation, or repetition. I chose a topic that would be interesting, I chose a topic that would be engaging, I chose a topic that would be relevant to you.
I’d probably use that as an introduction to a speech and get in a preview at the same point. Antithesis. My favorite Winston Churchill quote was one he said during World War II. “Greeks do not fight like heroes; heroes fight like Greeks.” And, of course, humor and wit; that is if you’re comfortable, and if it is appropriate for the context of your presentation. Make a list of ways you can add logic and emotion to your content as you wrap up the organization stage of your presentation.
Female:I like to relate speaking anxiety to performance anxiety in sports. Some of the techniques used by athletes help my students and clients be successful when they speak. They may help you too. It’s not an all-or-none mindset. Don’t let anyone tell you that no stress is a positive. Russian sports psychologist, Yuri Hanin’s research shows that we all have different tolerances and uses for stress hormones during our peak performance. Being completely calm and serene may work for some before they present, and may be disastrous for others.
As you try some of these techniques in this course, be sure to maintain a healthy amount of butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling. Use your breath. If being out of breath when you get nervous makes you uncomfortable, use slow breathing, in, 2, 3, 4, and out 2, 3, 4. Use these cycles to calm and center yourself. Remember to use your breath as you pause between sentences.
Nervous speakers tend to speak faster which makes them sound hurried and tough to follow. If your heart rate jumps making your breathing rate rise, when you’re in front of a group practice in that state. Run up a flight of stairs. Walk into your practice room and start your presentation. The more you do this, the less frazzled you would feel when this happens automatically in front of a group. Desensitize your brain. Football and basketball coaches regularly run practices while the sound of loud crowds is piped into their arenas.
Capitalize on that idea by practicing in the same space where you’ll be giving your presentation. Even post a face on the screen that you practice with. Dress up. Avoid practicing in comfortable clothes. If your big day requires a suit, a belt, or a tie, heels, there’s a different feel to performance gear and casual gear. If you’re going to be wearing a specific outfit on your presentation day, practice in that too.
Warm up. On the day of your presentation, go to the room early. After setting up all your technology, walk around to the front, or sit around the conference table to get at ease. Greet people when they walk into the room and start small talk to get more comfortable. Visualize success. Athletes make perfect passes and goals thousands of times in their heads before the real thing.
See yourself speaking in front of a group speaking comfortably, owning your space, hitting all of your points, smiling to the audience and interacting with them. It’s also not a bad idea to imagine the audience looking disinterested while you calmly focus on the 1 person who’s not doodling. Visualize yourself both succeeding and overcoming obstacles. Practice with technology. Needless to say, that when technology is involved something’s bound to go wrong.
Control what you can by having your visuals in a backup location, having extra clicker batteries, enough handouts for the audience, and if a microphone is involved, plenty of time to figure out where not to stand in the room. Knowing that you have a backup plan will make you feel more comfortable and alleviate some of the stress. Fuel for victory. Too much caffeine can irritate your stomach and increase your heart rate. Too little water can give you a headache and keep your throat dry, and not enough complex carbohydrates like whole wheat toast, oatmeal, pasta will leave your brain running on fumes.
If you tend to get nervous before speaking, switch to herbal tea, or avoid too much sugar and stay hydrated. Last, it’s not all about you. Even though speaking anxiety revolves around thinking of yourself and your feelings, remember that you’re there to meet the needs of your audience. Focus your energy outward and give them what they need. Empathize with their problems and be the facilitator to their solution. Switching your perspective from yourself to your audience is a winning mindset for your next presentation.
Strategic eye contact
Confident and respectful eye contact, depending on the culture and your surroundings, can be another asset for successful speaking. Speakers that visually connect with their audiences scan them comfortably, yet make intentional eye to eye contact with as many people as they can. Now, when I say eye contact, I mean the kind where you can remember the color of the other person’s eyes. Not the flighty one that says, “I’m in a hurry.” Here are a few tips if maintaining eye contact with a group makes you sweat. Use the 3 second rule.
Look at each person in the room for at least 3 seconds as you make your points. That keeps you from constantly scanning the room like you’re a well-trained lifeguard. Look at the friendly faces first. There are always audience members who give you positive non-verbal feedback. They smile, they nod, with everything that you say they give you audible confirmations. “Mm hm, uh huh, yes.” They’re the ones you want to speak to.
The ones who are furiously writing notes and they’re not even making eye contact with you should not distract you. Focus on the positive. Practice at eye level. I see many nervous speakers who either look at the floor directly in front of them or scan comfortably over everyone’s eye level. In the United States eye contact communicates confidence and credibility. Now, no matter your preference and comfort level you need to practice this on a day to day basis. Practice maintaining eye contact with people you’re less familiar with.
So, when you’re paying at the check out counter or you’re ordering coffee. Practice in the room. If setting up a screen with multiple faces looking right at you, or placing visual landmarks in the empty audience seats works for you, do it. I worked with an executive that placed his daughter’s stuffed animals in the room, so that he could practice looking out towards his audience. Others have placed post it notes on the walls of the room, or they’ve invited their friends to be stand-in specialists. You may have heard the saying, “Eyes are “the windows to the soul.” Without being too philosophical, I must admit that this quote is pretty valid.
For you, as a speaker, eye contact is your most powerful non-verbal. It communicates interest and confidence. It exudes trust and it shows a willingness to connect with your audience.
On the Public Speaking journey, there are so many challenges we will need to overcome to become the master. Let’s imagine you are a warrior on the way to conquer the final boss, along the way you will encounter different situations and meet with many others fellow warriors, and may learn of other masters as well. Let EIY be your guide from now on, in this journey together.
The Medium of your Message
Your greatest tool as a speaker is your voice. When you speak, your voice is the primary link between you and your listeners. It is the medium of your message.
Before thinking about how to use your voice to speak in front of an audience, let’s see how much impact your voice can apply to normal social situations.
Imagine a conversation between you and your manager, where you make a pitch about a new product.
Will he be impressed and interested if you speak about it in monotonous voice, without emphasizing on any of the new features or functions, like you just read a piece of paper:
Or he will be much more engaged if you can use your voice to force him to listen more closely, a bit of emphasizing here and there to make him focus on what you want him to hear:
A good, controlled voice is an asset in every contact with others. Your voice mirrors your personality with a language all its own. A natural voice which projects cordiality, cultivation, and authority is a significant tool for personal success. It can help in gaining promotions, making sales, winning others’ respect, and improving your social opportunities. *
Your voice plays an important role in rendering your message. You cannot hope to persuade or influence others – or even get them to listen in a positive way – if your tones are harsh and unfriendly.
Most likely, with enough practice, you can improve your voice and control it effectively, to develop the sort of voice that wins favorable attention, and reflects the qualities or messages you wish to share.
Your goals as a speaker should be to develop a voice that is:
- pleasant, conveying a sense of warmth
- natural , reflecting your true personality and sincerity
- dynamic, giving the impression of strength
- expressive and never sounding monotonous or emotionless
- easily heard, with the use of proper volume and clear articulation
That’s should be enough for our first part of Vocal Variety on PUBLIC SPEAKING JOURNEY.
Come back again next week for second part to learn about what kind of voice you have and how to better improve it!
(*): Toastmasters International – Tips for Adding Strength and Authority to your voice
Even if you don’t need to make regular presentations in front of a group, there are plenty of situations where good public speaking skills can help you advance your career and create opportunities.
For example, you might have to talk about your organization at a conference, make a speech after accepting an award, or teach a class to new recruits. Speaking to an audience also includes online presentations or talks; for instance, when training a virtual team, or when speaking to a group of customers in an online meeting.
Good public speaking skills are important in other areas of your life, as well. You might be asked to make a speech at a friend’s wedding, give a eulogy for a loved one, or inspire a group of volunteers at a charity event.
In short, being a good public speaker can enhance your reputation, boost your self-confidence , and open up countless opportunities.
However, while good skills can open doors, poor ones can close them. For example, your boss might decide against promoting you after sitting through a badly-delivered presentation. You might lose a valuable new contract by failing to connect with a prospect during a sales pitch. Or you could make a poor impression with your new team, because you trip over your words and don’t look people in the eye.
Make sure that you learn how to speak well!
Strategies for Becoming a Better Speaker
The good news is that speaking in public is a learnable skill. As such, you can use the following strategies to become a better speaker and presenter.
1. Plan Appropriately
First, make sure that you plan your communication appropriately. Use tools like the Rhetorical Triangle , Monroe’s Motivated Sequence , and the 7Cs of Communication to think about how you’ll structure what you’re going to say.
When you do this, think about how important a book’s first paragraph is; if it doesn’t grab you, you’re likely going to put it down. The same principle goes for your speech: from the beginning, you need to intrigue your audience.
For example, you could start with an interesting statistic, headline, or fact that pertains to what you’re talking about and resonates with your audience. You can also use story telling as a powerful opener; our Expert Interviews with Annette Simmons and Paul Smith offer some useful tips on doing this.
Planning also helps you to think on your feet . This is especially important for unpredictable question and answer sessions or last-minute communications.
Remember that not all occasions when you need to speak in public will be scheduled. You can make good impromptu speeches by having ideas and mini-speeches pre-prepared. It also helps to have a good, thorough understanding of what’s going on in your organization and industry.
There’s a good reason that we say, “Practice makes perfect!” You simply cannot be a confident, compelling speaker without practice.
To get practice, seek opportunities to speak in front of others. For example, Toastmasters is a club geared specifically towards aspiring speakers, and you can get plenty of practice at Toastmasters sessions. You could also put yourself in situations that require public speaking, such as by cross-training a group from another department, or by volunteering to speak at team meetings.
If you’re going to be delivering a presentation or prepared speech, create it as early as possible. The earlier you put it together, the more time you’ll have to practice.
Practice it plenty of times alone, using the resources you’ll rely on at the event, and, as you practice, tweak your words until they flow smoothly and easily.
Then, if appropriate, do a dummy run in front of a small audience: this will help you calm your jitters and make you feel more comfortable with the material. Your audience can also give you useful feedback , both on your material and on your performance.
3. Engage With Your Audience
When you speak, try to engage your audience. This makes you feel less isolated as a speaker and keeps everyone involved with your message. If appropriate, ask leading questions targeted to individuals or groups, and encourage people to participate and ask questions.
Keep in mind that some words reduce your power as a speaker. For instance, think about how these sentences sound: “I just want to add that I think we can meet these goals” or “I just think this plan is a good one.” The words “just” and “I think” limit your authority and conviction. Don’t use them.
A similar word is “actually,” as in, “Actually, I’d like to add that we were under budget last quarter.” When you use “actually,” it conveys a sense of submissiveness or even surprise. Instead, say what things are. “We were under budget last quarter” is clear and direct.
Also, pay attention to how you’re speaking. If you’re nervous, you might talk quickly. This increases the chances that you’ll trip over your words, or say something you don’t mean. Force yourself to slow down by breathing deeply. Don’t be afraid to gather your thoughts; pauses are an important part of conversation, and they make you sound confident, natural, and authentic.
Finally, avoid reading word-for-word from your notes. Instead, make a list of important points on cue cards, or, as you get better at public speaking, try to memorize what you’re going to say – you can still refer back to your cue cards when you need them.
4. Pay Attention to Body Language
If you’re unaware of it, your body language will give your audience constant, subtle clues about your inner state. If you’re nervous, or if you don’t believe in what you’re saying, the audience can soon know.
Pay attention to your body language: stand up straight, take deep breaths, look people in the eye, and smile. Don’t lean on one leg or use gestures that feel unnatural.
Many people prefer to speak behind a podium when giving presentations. While podiums can be useful for holding notes, they put a barrier between you and the audience. They can also become a “crutch,” giving you a hiding place from the dozens or hundreds of eyes that are on you.
Instead of standing behind a podium, walk around and use gestures to engage the audience. This movement and energy will also come through in your voice, making it more active and passionate.
5. Think Positively
Positive thinking can make a huge difference to the success of your communication, because it helps you feel more confident.
Fear makes it all too easy to slip into a cycle of negative self-talk, especially right before you speak, while self-sabotaging thoughts such as “I’ll never be good at this!” or “I’m going to fall flat on my face!” lower your confidence and increase the chances that you won’t achieve what you’re truly capable of.
Use affirmations and visualization to raise your confidence. This is especially important right before your speech or presentation. Visualize giving a successful presentation, and imagine how you’ll feel once it’s over and when you’ve made a positive difference for others. Use positive affirmations such as “I’m grateful I have the opportunity to help my audience” or “I’m going to do well!”
6. Cope With Nerves
How often have you listened to or watched a speaker who really messed up? Chances are, the answer is “not very often.”
When we have to speak in front of others, we can envision terrible things happening. We imagine forgetting every point we want to make, passing out from our nervousness, or doing so horribly that we’ll lose our job. But those things almost never come to pass! We build them up in our minds and end up more nervous than we need to be.
Many people cite speaking to an audience as their biggest fear, and a fear of failure is often at the root of this. Public speaking can lead your “fight or flight” response to kick in: adrenaline courses through your bloodstream, your heart rate increases, you sweat, and your breath becomes fast and shallow.
Although these symptoms can be annoying or even debilitating, the Inverted-U Model shows that a certain amount of pressure enhances performance. By changing your mindset, you can use nervous energy to your advantage.
First, make an effort to stop thinking about yourself, your nervousness, and your fear. Instead, focus on your audience: what you’re saying is “about them.” Remember that you’re trying to help or educate them in some way, and your message is more important than your fear. Concentrate on the audience’s wants and needs, instead of your own.
If time allows, use deep breathing exercises to slow your heart rate and give your body the oxygen it needs to perform. This is especially important right before you speak. Take deep breaths from your belly, hold each one for several seconds, and let it out slowly.
Crowds are more intimidating than individuals, so think of your speech as a conversation that you’re having with one person. Although your audience may be 100 people, focus on one friendly face at a time, and talk to that person as if he or she is the only one in the room.
7. Watch Recordings of Your Speeches
Whenever possible, record your presentations and speeches. You can improve your speaking skills dramatically by watching yourself later, and then working on improving in areas that didn’t go well.
As you watch, notice any verbal stalls, such as “um” or “like.” Look at your body language: are you swaying, leaning on the podium, or leaning heavily on one leg? Are you looking at the audience? Did you smile? Did you speak clearly at all times?
Pay attention to your gestures. Do they appear natural or forced? Make sure that people can see them, especially if you’re standing behind a podium.
Last, look at how you handled interruptions, such as a sneeze or a question that you weren’t prepared for. Does your face show surprise, hesitation, or annoyance? If so, practice managing interruptions like these smoothly, so that you’re even better next time.