Not everyone is born to be a public speaker – in fact few of us are – but in a world driven by information technology and extreme marketing, pairing verbal with non-verbal communication is a skill that’s becoming more vital. In fact, many jobs these days require you to do some sort of presentation for an audience – whether you like it or not.
There is good news though – speaking skills and non-verbal cues can be learned, and the more you improve them, the more you might actually start to like it.
The Ecos platform already makes it simple for anyone to create a top-notch presentation, but you still need confidence to really sell it. More than that, you need to pay attention to how your audience is reacting. That’s when non-verbal communication really comes into play.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, non-verbal communication refers to the process of shared cues people give off during an interaction such as eye contact, hand gestures, posture, tone of voice and any other cues that depict the mood of the persons in the room. You (the speaker) need to be watching your audience for these cues… but don’t forget, they are watching you too.
“All non-verbal communication is insight into your audience,” says Ecos Director of Business Development, Tracie Martin. “If you are losing them, find out why. If they are highly engaged and interested, go into more detail about that particular subject. If you look at presentations as a communication tool and not a scripted speech, where you can communicate with your audience and not ‘talk to’ your audience, it can be a successful engagement.”
There are a plethora of amazing speakers out there to admire and learn from. Personally, I consider former President Obama (Warning: this is not a political statement) to be one of the greatest speakers of all time. He is the perfect example of someone who uses non-verbal communication to his advantage. He looks around the room. He laughs at his own jokes. He often points at people when he sees a reaction from them. In a nutshell, he’s engaging and likeable which in turn makes his audience hang onto every word, and that’s what we all want, right? It’s not hard to incorporate some of those traits into your own speech or presentation.
Snapshot Interactive Marketing Director, Kristina Dolan is careful to look for non-verbal cues when she’s speaking,
“If I feel like I’m losing my audience, I always tell a personal story. You often lose attention after ten minutes, so it’s a great to bring everyone back into focus with a fun or informational anecdote or story of your own. Another great option is to show a video or animation to let them listen to something else other than your voice.”
Any great speaker will tell you that non-verbal communication is just as important as the words that come of your mouth and that’s also true for what you do after the presentation.
“I think the real beauty of a presentation is that it doesn’t have to be live,” Dolan says. “With Ecos, you can use the presentation to send follow-up content to someone, which is totally non-verbal, but a great way to engage them a second time. It can never hurt to present your message more than once.”
Give it a try. Use Ecos to create a dynamic presentation, and then take it for a test-drive with some of your team members. Practice making eye contact. Notice their facial expressions as you speak. Are they zoned out and bored or are they smiling and following along with you? Are their bodies stiff or relaxed – how about their shoulders? Look for these cues and adjust your presentation where necessary.
Good luck and remember, the Ecos team is always here for support!