Many times in the Presentation Skills work we do with our clients we are reminded about the transferability of emotions in the presentations we give. All of us have highly tuned radars when it comes to interpreting emotions. You only have to look at the image attached to this posting. Notice how quickly you get a sense of what the boy in the image is feeling. In fact you get it much more quickly than you get what he’s doing. Most of us would agree that the emotion is either one of happiness and excitement. More than this, if you look at the image for a few seconds you’ll notice that your feeling level changes slightly. In other words your emotional receptors are responding to the image. Even though the image is static you respond in some way. We are wired to do this.
This transfer of emotions is happening all the time when we are with others. In a presentation it can happen positively or adversely. If the presenter is confident and her emotions are in sync with her presentation the audience will respond and be engaged on an emotional level as well as an intellectual one. If the emotions are negative in the sense that the presenter is feeling overly nervous, lacking in confidence and self critical the audience’s emotional response will be very different. The typical emotional response of an audience to fear and nervousness in a presenter is one of awkwardness and discomfort.
We will always have some degree of nerves or adrenalin when making a presentation. The challenge is to be able to use these nerves to rise to the occasion rather than be limited by them and overwhelmed by the occasion.