Monday, May 14, 2012

Emotion and Audience Engagement

I am about to get started on The Power of Communication: Skills to Build Trust, Inspire Loyalty and Lead Effectively by Helio Fred Garcia. So looking forward to hearing more about the ways in which I can present myself in a way that is inspiring, firm and trustworthy. Something I feel every business owner needs. If you have the time…you should probably pick the book up too!

In researching the book, yes odd to research a book that you want to read, but with such little time I need to really figure out what is worth my spare time and what isn’t, I came across this Fast Company article. I wanted to share the highlights with you, so if you don’t have time to read the book in its entirety, you can at least get the gist.

The article starts off with: The default to emotion is part of the human condition. Yes indeed it is. It is rare to find anyone in a room who is listening to an inspiring speaker who doesn’t feel something emotionally either toward the speaker or the topic. Even if you dislike the speaker or the topic, you most likely do so in an emotional way. The primitive brain explained below, is what is important for leaders, business owners and for anyone who is looking for success.

The primitive brain and the limbic brain collectively make up the limbic system, which governs emotion. Within the limbic system, there is a structure called the amygdala, which leaders need to understand.
When faced with a stimulus, the amygdala turns our emotions on. It does so instantaneously, without our having to think about it. We find ourselves responding to a threat even before we’re consciously aware of it. Think of jumping back when we see a sudden movement in front of us, or being startled by the sound of a loud bang. We also respond instantaneously to positive stimulus without thinking about it: Note how we tend to smile back when someone smiles at us; how we are immediately distracted when something we consider beautiful enters our line of sight  

So, with this information, we need to understand that attention is emotionally driven. If you want to grab attention and keep it, you have to find a way to trigger the Amygdala in your audience. Whether it is in person, during a meeting, a social media campaign, marketing campaigns or a piece of advertising, it all comes back to something as simple as emotion. Frills, bells and whistles won’t work unless you trigger the right emotion.

As mentioned in the audience, here are five strategies for audience engagement:

  1. Establish a Connection. You have to actually connect with your audience before saying anything important. “Techniques to connect include asking for the audience’s attention, if only with a powerful and warm greeting, followed by silence and eye contact.”
  2. Say Your Killer Piece First. So you have established your connection? Directly after that, you need to say your most important piece of information. It should be a main framing piece that will help guide all that follows, and stay in your audience’s memory.
  3. Never Finish Without a Recap. Always close with a re-brief of what your main most powerful framing statement was about.
  4. Make it Memorable. We all have to keep in mind how much we are bombarded with information at every point of our day. Whether it’s TV, Social Media, Phones, Emails, and Meetings etc. Make sure what you are trying to say is simple, and easy to remember. Repeat your most important points.
  5. The Rule of Three. The most important take away of the whole article for me was the rule of three. Have three main points, topics or examples…but never more than three. People just won’t be able to focus on more. Make it short and sweet, but keep it to three.

I am so looking forward to the book. Look out for a review on the book and it’s main principles…as soon as I get through it!