Speaking Lesson from Inside Out: Remember Emotion
In Pixar’s brilliant film Inside Out, the stars of the movie are the emotions inside an 11-year old girl’s mind.
Inside Out powerfully reminds us that emotions drive many of our actions and decisions. Presenters often forget this and focus exclusively on delivering information, rather than on also conveying emotion.
My clients often worry that bringing out emotion in an presentation will be at the expense of teaching content. “But this is a technical presentation. Emotion will cheapen it!”
It is actually quite the opposite.
As professors Dachar Keltman and Paul Ekman explain in the recent NYT piece, “The Science of Inside Out:”
Emotions organize — rather than disrupt — rational thinking. Traditionally, in the history of Western thought, the prevailing view has been that emotions are enemies of rationality and disruptive of cooperative social relations.
But the truth is that emotions guide our perceptions of the world, our memories of the past and even our moral judgments of right and wrong, most typically in ways that enable effective responses to the current situation.
In other words, people will more effectively understand, remember and act on your information if it is given with the corresponding emotional tone.
For example, if you are giving a technical, data-based presentation on the recent (exciting) growth of the company, your audience will better remember the particular stats if you speak with excitement in your voice.
From the Green Room: Your listener will always feel something after listening to you. Make it the emotion you want! Have a clear emotional intent for your presentation, and let it help guide your content.