Watch What Your Face Is (Or Isn’t) Saying in Public Speaking
Before your give your next presentation or speech, can I make a suggestion? Why don’t you video-record yourself, study the playback, and watch your facial expressions. Are they in line with what you are discussing? Does your face display enthusiasm if you are excited about your message? Does it show worry, for example, if you are concerned about the serious nature of your remarks?
While color deals with the vocal variety of your voice, it also includes your body language and your facial expression.
One of the exercises I cover with my clients involves expressing fear when they say the words, She said yes. In most cases, fear is best seen in one’s eyes. It is difficult to describe in words how this works, but it usually comes down to the eyes for that emotion. Certainly your voice and body language can say it as well, but ‘the eyes have it’ when it comes to fear.
Try the above exercise with the words, She said yes while looking in a mirror. See if your eyes can express fear. If you need a bit of role-playing to make this work, imagine that someone has just confirmed that your mother-in-law is coming to stay with you – for 6 months!
Your face has so many expressions, ranging from delight to disaster and everything in between; but, if your audience cannot perceive your expressions by looking at you, then they may not believe in your sincerity. Having no expression tells your audience that you are either bothered or bored to be there (unless you are a comedian).
On the other hand, a face that shows panic when you are discussing a joyous, humorous, or fun topic, is telling your audience a different scenario altogether. They will never see your joy if your face is screaming dread.
One of the reasons an audience attends live public speaking events is to watch the speaker as he/she delivers a message. If you, as the speaker, show no emotion, no enthusiasm, and no passion in speaking, then your audience will not be enthused.
Even if you think you are boring or speak in a monotone, you can make the change if you will allow yourself to. My accountant shows very little expression, whether he is talking about politics, my taxes, or his wife’s candy shop. Mention his granddaughter, however, and his face takes on sheer delight. His eyes twinkle; he smiles broadly; and he gushes with pride and joy. In fact, he becomes effusive in expression.
Can this man show more emotion when he discusses subjects other than his granddaughter. Absolutely, but he first must want to. That is all it takes.