This weekend I am privileged to be the guest speaker at a seminar about ‘body language’. I was asked to share my experiences as a speaker’s coach, related to body language and presentations.
The organizer of the event had a great idea. “What if we show some speeches of well-known people and you tell the audience what’s right & wrong about their body language…”
Now, during my own workshops, I also discuss youtube-videos of famous people’s speeches with my trainees, however I never discuss the ‘right and wrong’. This is because I don’t believe there ìs a ‘right and wrong’ when speaking in public. It’s not a science. It’s not a ‘if you follow these steps, you will always succeed’.
The proof lies in the answers I get in my intakes for workshops. I always ask the participants who they ‘love’ as a speaker and who they ‘hate’. I often find President Obama and Steve Jobs as answers to both questions (by different participants obviously). So, do President Obama and Steve Jobs belong to the ‘right’ or the ‘wrong’ then?
It is not about right or wrong, it is only about ’cause’ and ‘effect’. When you give a speech, you are the ’cause’. What your audience does with the speech, that is the ‘effect’. Now if you don’t like the ‘effect’, then you should change the ’cause’. Unfortunately the effect is very subjective, and so is the cause. Luckily you don’t always have to be liked as a speaker to have an impact. Even though, you may not be fond of Steve Jobs as a speaker, I dare to state that it will be very hard not to be touched by his best speeches. Therefor, the effect is still there.
Now, to come back to the idea of the organizer of the ‘body language seminar’… I do not want to give ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ comments to any video. I would like to offer my experience as a speaker’s coach to predict how an audience would react to a certain body movement or facial expression. However, the best way to go about it, is to have the audience experience the effect it has on thém… as we all have ‘audience-experience’, we are great experts to judge what has the desired-effect on us.