If you’re interested in communication that gets a reaction, take a look at the American elections. Love him or loathe him, Donald Trump is the king of controversy, with his outrageous and self- aggrandising statements. Is it any wonder he’s nearly incited civil war? When he speaks, people listen, even if they don’t like what comes out his mouth.
When we ask Laughology delegates on our communication and presentation skills courses for examples of effective communicators you would be amazed at the range of despots, minor celebrities and egotisitcal politicians who get a mention. It's not suprise that recently, Donald Trump is in the mix too. “He must be good to get where he’s got to, and look at the reaction he is having. People are listening.”
Whilst we strongly disagree with the politics of Mr Trump there is no denying that his communication styles are certainly effective.
Persuasive people understand the power of emotional connection and can tap into the emotional brain.
Trump tends to activate what in neurological terms are referred to as emotional triggers. He plays on fears, builds them up and then offers himself as the solution, creating an unrealistic offering and a false sense of hope.
Fear and hope are two of the most effective emotions when it comes to encouraging actions and changing behaviour. Using positive emotional techniques and language to create a positive reaction and memorable information is more effective and sustainable than using fear.
For years linguists and communication experts have studied speeches made by politicians to understand how language can be used to create such strong emotions and in some cases severe actions and reactions. We can learn from politicians, good and bad, how using emotional content can inspire an audience to action in either a positive or negative way. So what lessons can be learned?
The best public speakers are those who are passionate about their subject and can emotionally connect with their audience. Storytelling is a great way to emotionally engage listeners. Research shows that when you tell a story, your audience mirrors your own neurological patterns; your brains synchronise! Passion is highly contagious too and will excite and enlighten listeners. Passion can be communicated through language, tone, pitch and delivery.
According to scientists, novelty is the most effective way to capture attention. The brain can’t ignore novelty and always responds to something unique and different. Teach people something new, deliver jaw-dropping moments by shocking and surprising them and you will create flashbulb memories that will be vividly recalled. Create surprises for your audience, be creative in how you deliver and push the boundaries of what is expected.
Humour is used by some of the world’s most inspiring public speakers. Why? Because the brain loves humour and is hardwired to react to it. It’s not about telling jokes but more about humourous observations. Give your audience something to laugh and they will be more receptive to your message, which will be more memorable.
As sir Richard Brandson said: “Speak from the heart, make people laugh. Keep it short and you will be remembered.”
Why not leave some of your presentation skills tips in the comments box below.