How to understand what your audience can perceive about you

 In Delivery

In my speech communication, sales presentation and senior executive personal communication consulting, one of the wall posters I hang in the room as a ‘frame’ for the consulting contains the following: ‘What matters is what the ‘customer’ perceives’. In the next few posts I’ll elaborate on other wall poster frames I use to in my consulting work.

Now, the ‘what matters . . ‘ statement may not be a new idea to you (you might have heard the same thing said with different words) it is good to ‘re-reflect’ on its meaning.

Customers, internal and external, make judgements about you through your words, your voice and your body language and your feeling tone (my thoughts about feeling tone were shared in a recent post). What this means, is that people can’t see (perceive things) inside your body. They can’t detect, for example, nervousness – even though you, can patently feel it inside yourself while, for example, delivering a group presentation.

Unless that nervousness is revealed through your words, face or body – it hasn’t happened  – from the customer’s point of view.

So, in business interactions and presentations, even if you have fear or nervousness internally, just make sure you keep it to yourself (don’t tell people you are nervous). Then focus on being perceived as articulate, competent and genuinely interested in the customer(s) through your words, voice, face and body.

In future posts I’ll relay numerous, specific ideas and techniques for leaving these perceptions. One powerful technique to allay internal fear, is to notch up your voice loudness on the first word or syllable you utter.

As soon as an audience hears a moderately loud voice they perceive confidence in the speaker (you). They’ll then ‘send back’ that sense of confidence (through their face and body language) to you. You’ll ‘receive’ their confidence message, and your fear and nervousness will reduce.

To trial this, as you open an upcoming meeting, notch up your voice loudness and say: ‘Welcome’. Then pause a moment for effect. Then continue.

The ‘How to’ for this post is to trial notching up your opening word, phrase, introductory statement, in your interactions, encounters, presentations.

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