Bernard from Human Resources delivers the same speech each month. Exactly the same script, month-in-month-out.
The only thing that changes is his audience.
Every month a fresh group of new company entrants is treated to the Bernard Show. A 2-hour odyssey covering everything from the firm’s foundations, through why the dress-code doesn’t permit open-toed shoes (and how to report an infraction should a rogue sandal-wearer happen by).
At the end of his speech audiences rarely ask questions. Most are too busy wondering if this is the same firm that they had been so eager to join. Bernard doesn’t exactly personify the light-hearted, relaxed, and innovative image the bluechip company presents to the media.
Bernard’s problem is passion. A distinct lack of it.
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Having delivered his orientation speech monthly for the last 7 years Bernard has lost his drive. His emotional investment in the subject-matter is long gone and his delivery is now just ticking boxes.
Bernard has gone from an expressive delivery to an instrumental one. No longer passionate about his open-toed shoes, Bernard delivers his speech in a monotone, arms folded across his chest. On the occasion Bernard moves around the stage, he paces with his hands clasped behind his back like a yesteryear professor.
Bernard’s visual communication sucks.
Bernard’s orientation speech has many problems. The most glaring issue is his visual communication, or lack of it. His closed and defensive body language sends a message to the audience that makes it very easy for them to switch off.
Essential visual communication.
When we are delivering presentations or speeches how can we avoid being like Bernard? How can we communicate effectively through our body language?
Maintain an open body position and communicate the message you are verbalizing through your body language.
Let’s look at some examples:
You are pointing a gun at someone and saying “I love you” versus balancing on bended knee and saying “I love you.”
Slightly less dramatically:
You have your arms folded across your chest and say “I’ll get the report to you by 5pm” versus hands by your sides and saying “I’ll get the report to you by 5pm.”
It is not enough to just say the words. It is not enough to vocally emphasis the words. The words needs to be emphasized, reinforced, and brought to life with our visual communication.