In business presentations, clients and prospects are listening, watching and sensing everything you say, show and do.
Skilled experts read non-verbal facial expression and body language. Perhaps you’ve seen the Fox television series: “Lie To Me.” In this series, Dr. Cal Lightman is able to decode non-verbal facial expressions and body language. He uses this system to determine if someone is lying. http://www.fox.com/lietome/
This popular show is rooted in serious science.
Researcher Dr. Paul Ekman has studied facial expressions for 50 years. His blog offers a course on ‘micro-expressions,’ the telltale signs of whether someone is telling the truth or not. http://www.paulekman.com/
Ekman was named in 2009 as one of the Top 100 most influential people of 2009. Dr. Ekman’s training is used by government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, educational and medical professionals to enhance their ability to better ‘read’ people and detect potential lies.
Whether or not you want to study the art of lying, your audience is watching your face. Your audience may not include people with the same trained expertise. However, every person has the instinctive ability to sense lies or truth. This is the root of expressions such as: “I just have a hunch he’s not telling the whole story.”
If you want to radically change your success in presenting, it pays to understand the power of facial expressions.
What can you do to improve your presentation delivery skills?
Here are a few tips to help you master the art of using expressing yourself with authentic presentation delivery:
Tip 1: Show Your Emotions
While presentation coaches and trainers spend a lot of time on the face, this is often the easiest way to show believability. Adults have a lot of practice showing emotion with our facial expressions.
In professional settings, the emphasis is: show appropriate emotion. When your face conveys an appropriate amount of happiness or sadness, your audience will read this as alignment.
Tip 2: Smile Like You Mean It
A genuine smile can dissolve barriers and warm up a crowd. You don’t have to ‘turn on the charm’ or become an over-the-top performer. Simply smile with feeling as you would to a close colleague or friend.
Tip 3: Share What’s Going On
No doubt you’ve heard about the power of self-disclosure. It’s also called frank and honest expression. If something is going on, tell your audience.
This is a fast and easy way to let the audience into your personal experience. Perhaps you’ve just had a tough commute. Or you got lost on the way to the conference. Open up. It will help people to understand your expressions and emotions.
If you notice that you’re making a strong facial expression, let the audience come inside of your reaction. “This story makes me frown…let me tell you why…”
If you are sharing data you feel passionately about, tell the audience about your feelings: ” I get so worked up about this because I know there’s a cure…”
With small transitions and changes, you are building a bridge of trust with your audience. Because you want to be a persuasive presenter, connecting to your audience and telling the truth are extremely important.