Presentations: The Hillary Effect – Communicating From the Gut:
With Hillary Clinton “finding her voice” in New Hampshire… getting props for being human when she teared up and when she fired back in a weekend debate… many are looking at her in a different light. It sure seems voters in NH are. (Of course, the media pounding on her skull plus telling voters what they were going to do before they did it were factors). In any case I think this is a teachable moment for all of us who make presentations.
The New Hampshire primary outcome reinforces the importance that sometimes in order to truly connect we must reveal our true selves, be human. Set aside technique and go with our gut.
During media coaching my clients occasionally freeze. They get tongue-tied although they have just learned what to do. Despite their new knowledge, they jumble messages, lose composure, and fail to communicate.
When I first encountered this I wondered, “How can I relieve this communication paralysis?”
I took an intuitive and somewhat risky step that broke the ice. It worked the first time and ever since. I reached over to the client and took away all messages and notes. The client said, “Now what do I do?”
I said, “You know in your heart you understand your messages. You wrote these words, thoughts, and ideas. They are a part of you. They contain information that you understand. Don’t memorize them. Follow your instincts. Talk conceptually. Talk to me. Go with your gut!”
And that is precisely what the client did. The messages came forth conversationally from the inside out. It was a wonder!
Importantly, this move also liberated the rest of the clients and not just those struggling. It seemed to remove artificiality and lubricate innate ability not just in media interviews but all forms of communication.
So how can you “go with your gut” in press interviews and other presentations? First get your facts right and have precision of thought and try these 5 steps:
Write your messages. There is no avoiding the preparatory work. Write what you intend to convey. This is your foundation. All that follows stands on it. This is where precision of thought and facts is established.
Convert the messages to key words or phrases. Represent major points with single words or short phrases. Write them in the margin of your full text as prompts.
Rehearse to those key words or phrases. Practice delivering the information by looking at the key words instead of the full text. In time, you should be able to communicate from them alone. You will talk rather than read.
Consider the key words as concepts. Talk conceptually. Convey essences. You should feel unleashed and conversing as with family and friends. (If the situation demands precise wording then use a news release or statement to give the information. Hand it out or read from it.)
Let go! Worked for Hillary, didn’t it?