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How To Use Emotion And Movement To Build A Connection With Your Audience


by Jose Ucar, author of “Global Influence

Have you ever been to a presentation after which you either wanted to speak to the presenter or couldn’t wait to implement some of the content shared? This means you were in the presence of an influential speaker, which is what I intend for you to become. For some people, it comes naturally; for others, it can be trickier. Regardless, it is essential that, as a leader, you work on developing these skills so that you are capable of standing up and sharing your message with impact. Try and think of some influential leaders who aren’t great public speakers – you may struggle here, because they all understand how important this is for any leadership career.

I remember when, at twelve years old, my teacher, Marcos Subero, told me I had to learn how to speak in public if I wanted to be successful in life. He also told me to read the newspapers. Hey, at least I took the first tip seriously. Gerald Rudolph Ford, ex-President of the United States, once said (I’m paraphrasing here) that if he went back to school, he would focus on speaking in front of an audience because there is nothing more important than the ability to communicate effectively. I hope I’ve given you enough ammunition to read further, asI’m going to squeeze my brain to give you what I consider some of the most important elements for you to work on.

It’s all about certainty. Within a business context, when you present you are transferring certainty about yourself as the speaker and expert, about the project, product or service and about the business you represent. Depending on how you present, you will be either increasing or decreasing the audience’s certainty levels.

Today I will focus on how to build an emotional connection with your audience, as well as how to explain and move effectively. These are only a few of the tips that I have on how to positively impact an audience, but these tips will help you to be your best every time you walk out on stage:

Build an emotional connection

You need to do this right from the start. You may have heard before that a first impression is built in the first few seconds of people seeing you; hence, it’s vital that you feel confident and comfortable with yourself and the content you are going to deliver. This is the strategy I recommend:

  • Connect with your passion for the topic you’re going to deliver. Ask yourself, ‘What do I like and enjoy so much about this subject? What positive impact will it have on the audience?’
  • Do a lot of preparation to make sure you bring your A game. Work on both your self-confidence and your competence. What gives you confidence in this scenario? What don’t you know yet? What does your audience know? Make sure to cover all the angles and to know your content inside out.
  • Believe in yourself, the topic and your preparation. Your presentation will be special because there is nothing vanilla about you. You will bring a unique spin because the message is coming from you – based on your knowledge and experience. This last part is about self-assurance and reflection.

The next thing to think about is how to hook them with a bold statement, question, quote, statistic or an impactful image. When I speak about confidence in presenting, I sometimes start with this question: ‘Have you ever been paralysed and unable to speak?’ Many people in the audience will connect with this, which is more powerful than saying, ‘Hello everyone,’ don’t you think?

Explain and move effectively

The explaining part is about having a structure that revolves around your core message or topic. This is what will enable you to share the information you want to convey while making sure you bring the audience along with you. A great way to start is by thinking about what you would like your listeners to take away or do after you have delivered your session.

Once you are clear on this, you can work on the body of your presentation. Here is a simple yet impactful structure that I use:

  1. Hook
  2. Introduction
  3. First message
  4. Second message
  5. Third message
  6. Conclusion and call to action

As I’m going through my messages, I make sure that I follow the 3Ts:

  1. Tell them what you are going to tell them.
  2. Tell them that thing.
  3. Tell them what you just told them.

Now onto the ‘move’ part. This is about stage positioning. The term comes from the theatrical arts, where the stage is divided into nine sections or positions. Next time you go to a play, pay attention to how the performers use the stage for greater impact.

For the purpose of speaking, you can move anywhere you like and anchor different areas of the stage, but as a starting point and a rule of thumb I recommend dividing it into three areas. This will also give you more flexibility, since stages tend to be different sizes.

Also, if you are behind a lectern (which I don’t like because it can be restrictive in terms of mobility), you will still be able to use your torso and body language to guide the audience through the three areas.

In order to be intentional and consistent with your actions and movements on stage, I recommend anchoring the beginning of your story, the problem, pains, failures to your right (left for the audience). The middle, which is your position of influence, is where you should start and finish your talk; it can also be used for the middle of the story, a transition or the present. Then move towards your left (the audience’s right) for the solution, happiness, success and ending. Using stage positioning will add depth to the stories you tell, and if, like I mentioned, you’re behind a lectern, you will still be able to indicate these areas with your torso and hand gestures, which will increase the impact of your words.

Take these tips with you the next time you prepare to rock the stage, and you will soon grow and expand as an influential leader who can positively impact their audience.


*This is an adapted book extract from “Global Influence” by Jose Ucar


Jose Ucar

Jose Ucar is an international influence and communication expert, with over a decade of experience working with businesses such as Procter & Gamble, SEAT-CUPRA, and Amazon. He is a Tedx Speaker, trainer and coach, and his new book “Global Influence” is an essential read for leaders looking to amplify their global impact and create meaningful connections with others, regardless of culture.