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Pause. Touch (The Flipchart), Turn (Back To The Audience), Talk…

Does it make you cringe when you are being presented to by someone who thinks they are a really great communicator and really isn’t?

Is it more painful when the person is very consciously trying to apply presentation “techniques” they have obviously picked up from training, than when they are just not trained at all?

If communications, presentations or other human interactions are taught in a formulaic way, they will be delivered in a formulaic way.

I was shocked when attending a presentation skills course 30 years ago. The tutor told us in a very authoritative manner that the content of what we wanted to say was irrelevant because it only accounted for 7% of the total message, where body language was 55% and tone of voice was 38%.

This is of course a serious distortion of Albert Mehrabian’s research . Whilst tone and body language are critically important, teaching them this way is misleading and hugely unproductive.

So I was even more shocked recently when I was asked to review a load of open courses including ones on presenting, and discovered that Mehrabian is still being misquoted in this way.

There are many great ways to learn how to communicate naturally and powerfully. An understanding of this area of neuroscience is enormously valuable.

With many people needing to relearn how to present effectively in a Zoom environment (other conferencing tools are available), let’s move away from the gimmicky misuse of stats and formulaic techniques (as we should everywhere) and focus on helping people do it properly.

Screenshot 2021-02-19 at 15.32.17


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