Speak From The Heart, Right From the Beginning
You know that the first few minutes of your talk are crucial. It’s in this small window of time that you’ll either captivate your audience and convince them to keep listening, or lose their attention and struggle throughout your presentation to regain it.
When you learn how to speak from the heart, you’re almost certain to captivate your audience. You’re able to make a special connection with them because you’re being genuine; you’re showing them that what you’re talking about matters to you—and that it should matter to them, too.
Not surprisingly, this approach allows you to communicate more easily, and it demonstrates sincerity to your audience. All of this adds up to authenticity that audiences value and respect.
Tell Your Story Honestly
Previously, I’ve talked about the importance of starting your presentation with a strong opening, and how the first few minutes of a presentation sets the tone for the rest of it.
Did you know that a strong opening determines how big (or little) of a connection you’ll make with your listeners as well?
Presenters who speak from the heart understand it’s important to start building a connection with the audience right away. Finding some way to relate what you’re saying to the people in the audience draws them into the presentation.
Maybe the story you tell from when you were a child doesn’t bring back similar memories of their own childhood, but how you recall the story is what will draw them in. They can see from the emotion you show and the way you move as you talk that you’re being authentic. In short, they’ll want to hear more because of the way you tell your story.
It’s Okay to Be Vulnerable
I think one of the best ways to open a presentation is with a story. Not only because storytelling is one of the most engaging activities (going back, basically, to the beginning of time), but because sharing a story about yourself or your life creates a sense of trust between you and the audience.
Sometimes the story you tell is less than admirable; sometimes it’s downright embarrassing. No matter what the story is, by sharing with your audience something real—something from the heart—you’re giving them an opportunity to see that the person standing before them isn’t perfect. That’s the person they can’t help but feel connected to.
What I also love about these types of stories is telling them makes giving a presentation easy. There aren’t any stats or facts to memorize; it’s just recalling a story you’ve probably told friends and family a million times. Those stories pretty much roll right off your tongue.
Speak Confidently From the Heart
One thing you can’t fake is sincerity—and why would you want to?
Speaking from the heart makes delivering a presentation easy. Anytime you’re passionate about a topic, you’ll find it’s easy to talk to others about it. Not only that, but your persuasiveness and confidence will balloon, too.
Think back to a time you had to give a presentation. Were you talking about something you felt passionately about? How did you feel as you spoke?
Chances are, if your presentation was about anything that was near and dear to your heart, you felt a buzz as you talked about it. Having others hear about something that was important to you boosted your confidence, which made your presentation even better.
If you’ve ever struggled and fumbled your way through a presentation, I’d be willing to bet you weren’t speaking from the heart. No amount of practice can ever replicate the sincerity and authenticity of a talk that comes from the heart.
There’s Always a Story
One thing I hear from those who take our Presentation Skills Training workshops is they don’t want to share anything that’s too personal about their own lives.
Speaking from the heart doesn’t mean opening up the vault containing your deepest, darkest secrets. It simply means being real with your listeners.
That means you don’t necessarily have to tell a personal story. A lot of times, people don’t think they lead lives remarkable enough to have a story worth sharing.
But there’s always a story. There’s always something going on in the world that can be used to tell a story. Maybe the person in your story is a parent, or a neighbor, or a friend of a friend. Maybe the person in your story is not associated to you in any way, but their story serves as the perfect example to a point you’re trying to make in your presentation.
Find the connection so you can speak from the heart. Find the connection so your audience can connect with you.
Seeing And Hearing Is Believing
A presentation’s opening is only as strong as the connection the speaker makes to his or her audience. There’s no better way to connect with your listeners than to speak to them from the heart—to let them see for themselves how important the subject matter is to you.
This kind of storytelling is particularly effective because the audience isn’t just expected to take you at your word; they can hear in your voice and see with their eyes that what you’re talking about isn’t just being spouted off mindlessly—you’re speaking to them from a place much deeper. It’s those presentations audiences have a hard time forgetting.