Improv(e) your presentation – part 1

Emotion and emotional repertory (Deutsche Fassung)

When speaking to a group you’ll be happy to see positive reactions on the faces of those listening to you – smiling like the four dwarfs. But more often you’ll get a stony- or even poker-faced audience. That’s because people concentrating on what you say will not necessarily smile or consciously use their facial expression.


Anyway, the important question is what you can do to present with more emotion. While eagerly organizing the contents of a talk we rarely consider our feelings regarding the topic: What’s the statement I am most passionate about? What do I think important about my message and am I completely commited to it? What aspects do upset me?

In order to give an emotional talk do a first rehearsal as soon as you’ve got an outline. And then try this exercise: Take 10 (or more) cards (or notes) on which you write one strong emotion each – e.g. love, hatred, hilarity, fear. It’s even better if you ask someone else to write the cards for you. Fold them once and mix them. Now start to speak ad-lib. After a while (ca. 1 minute) take up the first card and continue speaking while ‘acting out’ the emotion named on the card. As soon as you like, pick up the next card and continue in the new emotion.

The emotions will have two consequences: 1.) You’ll digress from your subject. 2.) You’ll notice that some of the emotions reflect your attitude towards the topic and some will contradict it. — 1.) Digressing is a creative enrichment. By somewhat overdoing the emotions you see the contents in a new light. You may notice new aspects that have escaped your notice until now. The emotional cards are a variant of Edward de Bonos six thinking hats. So maybe you’ll even have to reconsider your outline at this point. 2.) shows you whether or not you’re passionate about your topic. Doing a rehearsal with ‘emo-cards’ will bring to light unexpected insights about yourself. And that’s a great opportunity. Use your enthusiasm – or if the situation asks for it: your dismay or anger – and embody it in order to wow your audience on the day of the final preso. How long will they be able to keep a straight face?

This is an example of how reichweite works with their clients. The post is dedicated to Andreas Kirsche, Agentur für Helden.