Article Category: Delivery Techniques

Connect With Your Audience: Don’t Hide Your Emotions When Speaking

Don\'t Hide Your Emotions When Speaking

When you mask your emotions, you sever all connection with the audience. They might as well be reading your speech from a boring magazine.

Conversely, your connection to the audience is strongest when you effectively transfer your emotion to them.

Are you sharing your emotions? Or are you speaking as if a paper bag hung between you and your audience?

If You Are Feeling It, Then Show It

It’s really a very simple concept — if you are feeling it, then show it.

  • If you are passionate about your topic, show your passion.
  • If you are mourning, show your sorrow.
  • If you are excited, show the audience your excitement.
  • If you are confident, show your confidence.
  • If you are feeling ___, show ___.

Too often, speakers attempt to be “proper” or “dignified” when the occasion does not call for it. By masking their true emotions, they sacrifice authenticity and lose the audience.

Believability = Showing Appropriate Emotion

In the simple relationship shown below, Jessica Hagy reminds us that our believability is determined by the appropriateness of the emotion we are demonstrating.

Show Your Emotions When Public Speaking

The sincerity of a eulogy becomes believable when the speaker exhibits signs of sorrow such as an unsteady voice, a tearful eye, or a body full of grief.

Likewise, a politician’s credibility hinges on whether she is able to convey her conviction, confidence, and resolve to the audience through her speaking. If the words say “I believe in this budget“, but the emotion says “I’m bored standing up here“, which do you think the audience believes? Emotion trumps words. If the emotions displayed do not match the message, the audience will not trust the message.

Use Nervous Energy to Fuel Emotions

Professional speech writer Pete Ryckman recently encouraged us not to suppress our nervous energy. Instead, channel it into your emotions when speaking:

Successful speakers communicate profound belief in their own messages. They do it with emotion. Don’t pull back from your emotions. Move toward them. Use performance energy to win over your audiences.

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  1. Marilyn Jess says:

    Many members of the audience can sense true emotion, versus that which is fake. When you reveal just a bit of the real you, your speech soars above the ‘noise’ we so often hear. Thanks for a brilliant article.

    1. Andrew Dlugan says:

      Very true, Marilyn. Faked emotions will not get you very far. That’s why it is so important to choose speech topics which you are passionate about.

  2. Allyncia says:

    Its definitely a challenge to discern the appropriate emotions for the business environment. This reminds me of Dave Chapelle’s skit about “When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong”.

  3. Brenda says:

    This is the first article I received – awesome!
    Thank you Andrew!

  4. We may forget what you say as a speaker, but we’ll never forget how you make us feel. Like this article – so, so important for the emotion to be authentic.

    If relaying a personal story for example, it’s vital to reconnect with how we felt at the time. This will then come across sincerely to the audience – who invariably will spot a ‘fake act’!

    This article is also a nice wake-up call for people who simply ‘talk to the powerpoint’!