#75 Showtime! The art of striking the pose.
Several weeks ago we began a series of conversations around the Eight Constant Factors of Platform Presence. Our position is you must have all eight of these factors in play for you to be a platform master. These eight constant factors work together, harmoniously. They co-exist in dynamic fluidity. The absence of any one of these eight factors results in… loss of presence.
These eight constant factors work together, harmoniously. They co-exist in dynamic fluidity. The absence of any one of these eight factors results in… loss of presence.
We started with the first Constant factor, which is Engagement and we said Engagement is a relationship between a speaker and an audience… a relationship based on trust, respect, information, and interaction! Based on a number of research findings, we know that if you do not have engagement… you lose the battle for audience attention.
We introduced this idea of engagement in Episode #55 where we used Dr. Ivan Pavlov, the 1904 Nobel Prize winner, and his experiment where he measured how and when a dog would salivate. It went like this… step one, bring a dog food and step two, the dog salivated.
I know it sounds profoundly simple and obvious, doesn’t it?
Well, Dr. Pavlov inserted a special device that measured how much saliva a dog produced when food was brought to it and through a series of actions which involved synchronizing a ringing bell with the dog having access to food. After doing this conditioning for a period of time, Dr. Pavlov removed the food but kept ringing the bell and the result was the dog would start to salivate when the bell was rung… even though there was no food.
We connected that example to what an audience experiences… without the salivating of course. An audience has been conditioned to respond as a spectator… someone who sits and waits for food to be brought to them. They have been conditioned to through the numerous conferences, workshops, seminars and meetings they have had to endure.
Then the platform master comes along and starts ringing a bell, changing the rules of engagement. Within the first 90 seconds, the audience experiences the effect of a platform master… an ethical, undeniable pull strategy that engages the emotion and logic of the audience.
I have a free download for you titled ‘10 Ways to Engage Your Audience in the First 90 Seconds’ at www.epicpresenting.com/episode75. This download will help stimulate your thinking to develop original ways to ring the bell… so to speak… and engage your audience.
We’ve also talked about the second constant factor of platform presence, which is ‘Persuasion’.
We positioned a persuasive speaker as someone who can effectively use a variety of tactics to achieve persuasion called ‘Rhetorical Appeals’ called Ethos, Pathos, and Logos.
Before you can effectively persuade an audience to accept anything you say, they have to accept you as credible… this is Ethos.
There are many aspects to building your credibility:
- Does the audience respect you?
- Does the audience believe you are of good character?
- Does the audience believe you are generally trustworthy?
- Does the audience believe you are an authority on this speech topic?
Keep in mind that it isn’t enough for you to know that you are a credible source. (This isn’t about your confidence, experience, or expertise.) Your audience must know this.
Ethos is your level of credibility as perceived by your audience.
Pathos appeals to the emotions of the audience. Do you evoke feelings of … love? … sympathy? … fear? … compassion? … envy? … hate? … contempt?
An emotional connection can be created in many ways by a speaker, perhaps most notably by stories. The goal of a story, anecdote, analogy, simile, and metaphor is often to link an aspect of our primary message with a triggered emotional response from the audience.
And then we have Logos which asks the questions, “Does my message make sense? Is my message based on facts, statistics, and evidence? Will my call-to-action lead to the desired outcome that you promise?”
We know that all three rhetorical appeals, Ethos, Pathos and Logos are critical being persuasive.
Then we introduced the third Constant Factor, which is Impact. A speaker who has an impact will use up to five ‘strategies’ when they are establishing platform presence. They are Clarity, Reinforcement, Consolidation, Inspiration, and Positioning. (We will invest an entire episode on these five strategies soon.)
Next, we introduced the fourth Constant Factor, which is Compelling. A speaker who is compelling understands the essentially of anticipation and expectation.
They know they are unashamedly committed to bringing their message to their audience in an entertaining and authentic way.
You may recall, in Episode#69 Be compelling or don’t show up! we told the story of attending a concert at the old riverside warehouse in Shreveport Louisiana… the one that has been converted into an outstanding venue for music concerts… with fantastic acoustics.
I told the story of my experience, from a relatively safe position in the balcony, at a Candlebox concert. I couldn’t stop myself from watching and becoming caught up in the infectious atmosphere of anticipation and expectation which was fully supported by the raw, talented authenticity of a skilled band… masters of their platform…. of their craft. It was compelling to watch.
A compelling platform master understands the essentially of anticipation and expectation. They bring their message to their audience in an entertaining and authentic way.
The in Episode #71 we talked about How to Create Expectation…. Or the Pygmalion Effect in Platform Presence and Mastery.
When you walk onto a stage, or into a boardroom, or even a lunch room where you are going to talk about your business, share an important message, or pitch an idea or a concept, you want to be compelling and one of the essential elements is the ability to create expectation… create a Pygmalion Effect using four specific, yet connected elements: Climate, Content, Interaction, and Frame.
You can download a little tool we call the ‘Expectation Game Plan Template ‘ that will help you become more compelling. You may want to even go back to Episode #71 and listen to the entire session again.
The next Constant Factor we introduced in Episode #72 was Passion. The Japanese translation of the word passion means ‘feeling & heat’. According to Chris Anderson, the innovative visionary behind TED Talk, the most successful TED talk is delivered by speakers who have a passion for their idea and consequently deliver their talks with ‘emotion and imagination’.
So, we positioned ‘Passion’ as speaking with ‘feeling, heat, emotion and imagination’.
We also talked about There are three types of psychological needs you must meet if you are going to light a flame in your audience: Intellectual, Emotional, and Visceral Needs.
We also talked about the Three Brains: Reptilian Limbic Neocortex. It would be worth listening to Episode #72 for a deeper insight.
In Episode #73 we talked about the Constant Factor of Purpose and we leveraged off of a very powerful nugget of the wisdom of Dr. Wayne Dyer that comes from the word ‘Intention’. He wrote, ‘My research reveals a fairly common definition of intention as a strong purpose or aim accompanied by a determination to produce the desired result’.
As a platform master, you embrace these words. They are like DNA to you. You cannot be a platform master without these words actively alive inside you. You have to come from a position of strong purpose. You have to be determined to engage, enable, empower your audience, not just entertain or inform. You have to focus on a result… a ‘so what?’ This is your purpose. Find Your Purpose. Find Your Voice.
Now, in this episode today, we introduce the Constant Factor of Posture.
Most people will interpret Posture to mean a position in which someone holds their body when standing or sitting. That’s not what I mean when I say, Posture. When it comes to Platform Presence Posture means to behave in a way that is intended to position and impress.
Imagine someone walking into a room and there is an attitude surrounding them… an air of confident assurance. When they take the centre stage or the spotlight… or when all the eyes are on them, they take command. They have ‘Posture’.
I’m 5’ 7” tall when I have slightly elevated shoes on. That extra half inch makes all the difference in the world, believe me. I remember many years ago when I was introduced to a large group of cross functional team members to work with them on developing three roadshow presentations and one final presentation to the entire company. They did not know me and I did not know them. The lead consultant who was the architect of this assignment knew me… and that’s why I was there. I was introduced and I took the floor.
The room was arranged in a large U-shape and I immediately established my authority by walking down into the U, engaging the team, one by one with my eyes, connecting with them. I knew I had them when several of them leaned in, towards me. Others unfolded their arms and still, others put their pens down.
I only had 20 minutes to let them know what we would be doing for the next 3-4 months and what to expect as a result of our working together. When I was finished, we took a break and were gathering around coffee and muffins when one tall, burly guy walked up to me, shook my hand and said, “You looked a lot taller when you was talking to us.” I said, “Thanks… I think.” we both laughed and I put that saying into my incubator to think about more.
Later that evening my colleague and I were talking after dinner and I told her about that comment. She smiled and said, “Well, you do look taller when you are presenting. It’s your attitude. You command the floor. You own it.”
I’ve never forgotten that.
Here’s what I’ve come to understand over the years, Posture only comes from a position of inner confidence. It carries an authority based on ownership.
There is no pretense.
There is no ‘Fake It Till You Make It’.
Today we will look at Posture from three perspectives:
So, let’s get into it.
The first element of posture is Vulnerability. You cannot engage an audience, or persuade them, or impact and compel them without vulnerability. You don’t light a fire of passion in your audience without vulnerability.
I love TED Talks. I’ve talked about this previously… so this will come as no surprise.
I highly recommend them, as they are the best University of all things of life and business. One of the ‘must watch’ TED Talks I introduce all of my clients to is Brené Brown’s,“The Power of Vulnerability”. This is perhaps one of the most influential platform presentations you will ever experience.
By the way, the hit count on her TED talk is at over 29 million views today. That is a testament to how deeply this subject of vulnerability resonates with business professionals around the world.
In this 20 minute presentation, Brené Brown linked Vulnerability to Courage and I love how she broke it down for us to clearly grasp.
She says the original definition of courage, when it first came into the English language, is from the Latin word ‘cor’, meaning heart, and the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.
Telling your story of who you are with your whole heart. This act of ‘being vulnerable is an act of courage. Courage unlocks compassion and connection and this engages the audience at the very primal level of emotion. A vulnerable speaker is willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were, which you have to absolutely do compassion and connection to coexist.
A vulnerable platform speaker opens their soul through their story. Brené Brown says, “Stories are Data with a Soul”.
I know that her TED Talk was seven years ago, but I still believe it is one of the most powerful examples of a keynote speech or presentation that truly exemplifies the element of vulnerability and establishing platforms presence because it’s honest, engaging and not only speaks about the power of vulnerability, it demonstrates it.
When you watch the video below, look for the following:
- She has a brilliant opening
- She tell great stories
- She uses humour
- She is conversational
- She asks questions
- She pauses beautifully
- She closes powerfully
“Let ourselves be seen, deeply seen. To love with our whole hearts even though there is no guarantee… to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror…to believe that we are enough.’’
This is a powerful, thought-provoking and deeply engaging 20-minute talk all wrapped up in authenticity and vulnerability… the first essential element of Platform Master Posture.
If you aren’t one of the 30 million people who has already watched it then watch it here now.
The second perspective is Mindset, and we’ll go into that now.
Mindset is a word that often bandied around. In fact, you can type the word ‘Mindset’ into Google and you will have over 78 million references.
So, let’s be really clear as to what I mean when I talk about having a Platform Master Mindset and how this relates to Posture.
A mindset is a way of thinking… a way of seeing the world. A mindset acts like a lens through which the world is viewed. Imagine your mindset is your navigational system. You navigate your way through events, opportunities, interactions and engagements… using your mindset to guide you.
So, with that foundation in place, let me ask you this question… “How do you see yourself as a platform speaker?”
How you see yourself has a definite effect on your platform presence.
When I stood in front of that large team to start the journey of creating the roadshows and the large presentation to the entire company, I saw myself as the authority, the commander of their attention. I knew I had a mandate and I took ownership of the room to navigate towards the outcome I had set in place.
Your mindset will determine the words you use and how you use them. Your mindset will send an invisible energy, from you to your audience. Your mindset will show itself through your body language.
There is a definite connection between your mindset and your speaking habit. A speaker with an ‘unsure mindset’ creates uncertainty in their audience. On the other hand, a speaker with an ‘assured mindset’ inspires the audience to believe and engage.
An assured mindset has healthy self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-respect at its core. How you see yourself is how your audience will see you. This is why Posture is one of the eight constant factors of platform presence. Your mindset tells the audience how to see you. Your mindset is the navigation system that directs your behaviour to position and impress.
This is why Posture is one of the eight constant factor of platform presence. Your mindset tells the audience how to see you. Your mindset is the navigation system that directs your behaviour to position and impress.
This is why Posture is one of the eight constant factors of platform presence. Your mindset tells the audience how to see you. Your mindset is the navigation system that directs your behaviour to position and impress.
While this is not a podcast on psychology, this principle is vital to achieving and sustaining a Platform Master Mindset. A strong, healthy self-esteem produces confidence and respect… and this is the DNA of an authentic platform master posture.
That leads us to the third and final perspective, Physicality.
We’ve talked a lot about the internal perspectives of posture in this episode, up until now. The third and final part of our episode this week is about physicality. Here’s what I mean when I say, physicality: ‘The fact of relating to the body as opposed to the mind; physical presence.’
A platform master uses physicality as a magnet. Do you remember the large team with the road shows, and how I took ownership of that U space? (Warning… there’s going to be a lot of ‘I’ in this next example.)
I didn’t do anything big, lavish or outlandish. I simply walked in and took my place, as the platform master.
I controlled my feet, gestured effectively with my hands, moved as and when I needed to so as to engage each section of my audience.
I connected with meaningful, purpose driven eye contact and I used effective vocal image, which included pausing to create value and pausing to confirm value.
I arched my eyebrows, smiled and frowned.
I leaned in when I needed to and backed away when my audience needed some space to process and file what I was saying into their mental filing cabinet.
There are two words that associate themselves with physicality and they are enthusiasm and energy. You cannot fake enthusiasm and energy. You either have it… or you don’t. Your energy and enthusiasm manifest itself through your physicality.
Enthusiasm is an essential element in any memorable platform performance. The ability to feel and express enthusiasm is immensely empowering.
The roots of the word suggest, “having a god within.” It takes you from being ordinary and forgettable and transforms you into an engaging, persuasive, impacting and compelling master communicator.
Here’s the catch… enthusiasm requires preparation.
It doesn’t just fall out of the sky when you stand up to speak. It’s the result of an intense engagement with your topic, a conviction that you have something important to say, that this particular message is significant for your audience.
You have to bring that into the room.
It doesn’t just happen because you open your mouth and verbalize the content. It’s your job as a speaker to identify that message, feel its importance and communicate it effectively.
Enthusiasm requires an investment of energy.
Great speech needs to be larger than conversation. You need to put out more energy than what you’re used to investing in daily interaction. I know it feels strange, at first. It feels wrong. It feels like you’re not being you.
But you’ve got to go there. We see ordinary every day, so why should that get our attention? Speaking in public is no time for playing it safe.
One of our Foundation of Mastery Principles is: Practice Makes Permanent. What does this mean? You have to practice 110% to get a platform performance of 110%
Let me be crystal clear about something, enthusiasm does not require arm waving, raising your voice and being melodramatic. That can be faked… and instantly recognized.
Real enthusiasm is a state of being. It comes from your center. You feel it and express it in your own unique way. That’s what makes it so powerful. By recognizing and cultivating your own personal expression of enthusiasm, you raise yourself above the crowd of blank faces and flat voices.
You distinguish yourself as an engaging speaker. You become a compelling communicator that people enjoy, admire and remember.
In the next episode I’m going to give you a four-step game plan, an in-depth session on the four major elements of physicality, which are: Movement, Hand Gestures, Eye Contact and Vocal Image and we will explore this subject of Enthusiasm and Energy more.
Alright, let me start closing Episode #75.
Today we talked about the Constant Factor of Posture from three perspectives: Vulnerability, Mindset, and Physicality.
In Vulnerability, we drew a line in the sand by saying you cannot engage an audience, or persuade them, or impact and compel them without vulnerability. You don’t light a fire of passion in your audience without vulnerability.
This act of ‘being vulnerable is an act of courage. Courage unlocks compassion and connection and this engages the audience at the very primal level of emotion.
A vulnerable speaker is willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were, which you have to absolutely do compassion and connection to coexist.
I really do encourage you to watch the Brene Brown TED Talk.
We also talked about your mindset, which is the way you think, the way you see the world. We said a mindset acts like a lens through which the world is viewed. Imagine your mindset is your navigational system. You navigate your way through events, opportunities, interactions and engagements… using your mindset to guide you.
We asked you this question, “How do you see yourself as a platform speaker?”
Your mindset will determine the words you use and how you use them. Your mindset will send an invisible energy, from you to your audience. Your mindset will show itself through your body language.
And that led us into Physicality, where we looked at two words, energy and enthusiasm. You cannot fake energy and enthusiasm. You either have it… or you don’t. Your energy and enthusiasm manifest itself through your physicality.
The roots of the word ‘enthusiasm’ suggest, “having a god within.” It takes you from being ordinary and forgettable and transforms you into an engaging, persuasive, impacting and compelling master communicator.
So, here we are, at the action point of the day…
First, take the time to engage with the Brene Brown TED Talk.
Second, Download the 10 Ways to Engage Your Audience in the First 90 Seconds’ at www.epicpresenting.com/episode75.
Next week, we deep dive into the Four Elements of Physicality, and we will have a download booklet that gives you diagrams and examples.
So… now you know, there is more to come.