When someone asks me to critique their presentation, I spend much of my time watching the audience as I listen to them present. I can evaluate an entire presentation simply observing the audience. The faces in the audience, especially their eyes, as they listen, tell the truth. I can see exactly what they’re thinking.
What is supposed to happen when you’re talking to a group is there should be a mutual interchange of energy and understanding.
What I mean is that you’re supposed to feel something powerful coming BACK to you, and this energy from the audience should be changing and evolving as you speak.
You should FEEL it. Everyone can SEE it.
If you don’t feel something coming back to you from the audience as you’re speaking, if you don’t feel them changing, they're not fully engaged. If you can’t tell if they’re engaged or not, they are not, because an engaged audience is impossible to miss.
This back-and-forth energy and understandings between you and the group creates great spontaneity. In you, in them.
It goes beyond anything verbal. It supersedes logic.
Their eyes are full of expression, they’re nodding, they’re laughing, they’re leaning forward. You can feel their collective energy flowing toward you.
When you react to that positive energy right in the moment, the audience makes you laugh, inspires you, they bring out the best in you. You find yourself saying brilliant things. You’re the person you’ve always wanted to be.
The skill that enables you to do this is your ability to connect with the audience in a way that taps into the core of you.
Your ability to connect is WAY more important than the content you’re presenting.
When you do make that connection at the core, how you will feel and the response you’ll get in return will astound you, regardless of your content.
I can’t express the joy I feel when I see my students achieve this breakthrough. I just received this email from one of my students who experienced it for the first time:
“I want to write to share that I attained a new career achievement today, thanks to the workshop I took with you. I just presented to executives at a major conference in Silicon Valley. It was a gathering of serious intellectual heavyweights, including technology fellows, international policy-makers, and thought leaders from Google and Accenture.
"It is a little silly, but I feel like a rock star walking around the conference now with so many people approaching me to meet and to start conversations. I’ve already been asked to speak at 2 more events and I just got off the podium a couple of hours ago.
“This is the person I wanted to be when I signed up for your classes, and I am forever grateful to you.”
The person you want to be is within you, patiently waiting for the day you fully tap in.