There’s a large body of research that shows the emotional component of a message trumps the analytical.” – Carmine Gallo, Forbes

The concept is easy to grasp and difficult to master: inserting genuine feeling into your presentation incites genuine response. This requires you to share your motivations, hopes, and fears rather than suppress them. It’s counter-intuitive when you think of the way we have been taught to approach presentations, which conjures up the image of a gray boardroom and a dozen stuffy CEOs. Trust us, any emotion this inspires is completely accidental.

Emotions captivate. We are united in our love of things that make us “feel.” Think of the times you’ve cried during a movie or held your breath along with the main character. Even though we know it’s blanketed in the magic of Hollywood, our natural empathy is kickstarted when we see other’s emotions.

“What’s my motivation?” According to Dale Carnegie, a presentation usually falls into one of four categories. It either makes something clear, impresses or convinces, incites action, or entertains. Your presentation didn’t pop out of a robot, it was crafted to share something memorable with the audience. Where did that come from within yourself? What inspired you? When deciding on what emotions to share, start with this question.

How does your motivation make you feel? After you’ve decided what fuels your presentation, list three emotions that this motivation inspires in you. “Excitement for the future,” “anger about the existing problem to solve,” or “happiness about the present” are some examples. Focus on ways to utilize these three emotions when you are speaking.

Be mindful. Using emotion doesn’t mean you have to re-enact the final scene of Titanic during your presentation. Utilize them to enhance content, not distract. For instance, show that you mean it when you describe where you came from. Also consider using expressive language when you describe where you plan to go, etc. If your emotions are genuine, you will always hit the right note.

Stories rule. The best way to insert emotion into your presentation is the most natural: a true story. If you are have trouble seeming excited in a 50 slide deck about budget, consider opening with a story about how challenging working on the project was for you.

No matter what your content or delivery style, revealing the emotion beneath the message will succeed with your audience every time.

Question: How can you use emotion in your next presentation? 

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