Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rahm Emanuel: Raising Status through Stillness

Watch last night's CNN interview with Rahm Emanuel:

Notice the way Rahm Emanuel sits straight up in his chair, barely moving. Contrast that with Morgan, who moves more and leans forward, toward Emanuel. 

Emanuel's straight and still posture raises his status - giving him an even greater sense of authority. Morgan's movement and posture, on the other hand,  lower his status, making him seem more approachable.

From the Green Room: Stillness = status. When you get up to speak, decide whether you are aiming to raise or lower your status. If your goal is to raise your status, maintain a more fixed posture, keep your head still, and use minimal gestures. If your goal is to lower your status, use more movement and lean towards the audience.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Speaking Lesson from Introverts

I showed the following TED talk, "Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts" to my Advanced Oral Presentations class at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University:

One student commented that Cain's words held particular gravitas precisely because she is an introvert.

So true. We often assume that it's the extroverts who get more public attention - and who are more engaging speakers.

Yet introverts can actually have the upperhand. Because they say less, people listen more closely.

From the Green Room: Remember, less is more. Don't try to fill your presentation with noise. Leave room for silence. This may be more challenging for extroverts - but well worth the effort.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Passover Speaking Lesson

Passover begins tonight. Our family will gather together for the Passover Seder - the retelling and re-experiencing of the Jewish people's exodus from slavery in Egypt.

Certainly, there's a lot of important information to cover. So, why not make a Passover PowerPoint presentation and show it at the Seder?

 Aside from certain religious prohibitions, one can only imagine that a PowerPoint presentation would turn a potentially meaningful, exciting and interactive experience into a dreadfully boring and passive one.

The Seder plate, on the other hand, with it's various, colorful symbolic foods, is a brilliant visual. It is concrete, tactile, and a great trigger for discussion of the topic at hand. What's more, it helps the participants remember the information, even after the holiday is over.

From the Green Room: Next time you give a presentation, consider minimizing your usage of PowerPoint, which inhibits human interaction and connection. Instead, choose a prop to emphasize your point. When used correctly, a prop not only helps you communicate your message, but helps your audience remember it, long after you have stopped speaking.