Archive for June 11, 2010

Body Language

Body language is more important than you can imagine. In fact, only 3% of any presentation is the content. About 97% is the body language and how well you involve your audience.

When I heard that I immediately started taking classes on how to improve my Delivery. I began to take courses outside of the Bay Area from professional speakers who were making a full time income from speaking. I figured they would know so much more than I knew it would be easy for me to learn from them.

Even today after speaking for 18 years I still go out to at least one speaker’s event every year. I am always learning from those who have more experience than I do.

The Delivery includes your body language, which I had the most difficulty in applying. I

had to learn to move, with purpose. Movement allows your audience to know you are “moving” to a new topic. Hand movement should indicate pointing out specific details: are you referring to something going up, down, quiet, or an order such as first, you will . . . and then second . . . you will . . . and so forth while indicating such numeric orders.

When I was first trying to incorporate hand jesters I would inevitably raise my hand up when I mentioned something was going down or stopping. It was incongruent and a major challenge for me to overcome.

It was because I was not comfortable speaking in front of larger audiences and my brain and physical body did not coincide. I was able to over come the challenge with a little bit of practice.

Facial expression is a major function of the Delivery. Smiling will engage your audience more easily than being a serious orator. Remember people will engage with you much faster if they think they can relate to you.

Humor

Whether you are speaking to a Lion’s, Rotary, Kiwani’s (often referred to as the animal circuit), association or any organization, it is your job as a speaker to be entertaining. It is a given you have to deliver an informational and educational presentation, often referred to as “edutainment” in the industry.

I spent a day with John Cantou the founder of the Holy City Zoon in San Francisco who gave Robin Williams and many well known comics their start. John asked me to tell him stories of how and where I grew up.

I told him about washing chicken eggs every Sunday, walking home a mile down the dirt road, holding a chicken by the feet so our family could have a good dinner. John thought it was hilarious as he did with several of my memories of growing up in a financially challenged household.

It was not funny to me since it was filed with emotions of being deprived. But after I got out of my own way long enough, it was truly funny. The image of a six year old holding a plucked chicken by the feet, as far away as possible, was silly.

Now you might be wondering how that converts to a worthwhile story for speaking at a corporate event. So did I.

John explained the level of work ethic I developed when I was six, influenced me in every job the rest of my life. The moral of the story in a corporate event is how it translates to engaging employees in a work ethic which serves the employers.