I think one of the first things I was told when I started my first job was to not take things personally and keep emotions out of it. Is that really what you need to do in the presenting environment?
Hearing this advice makes sense in a lot of work spaces, especially corporate environments. I know many people who have such good hearts and feel completely damaged and hurt inside when they receive constructive criticism in the workplace (and sometimes, it’s not so constructive). This is the time where you need to remove emotion. Don’t get upset; listen to what your executives are saying, take notes for next time, and be done with the scenario. However, when you’re presenting data to a group of people, it is crucial that you bring emotion into the conversation so they can grasp the magnitude of what you’re showing them, whether it’s good or bad.
If you read our blog last week (CLICK HERE IF YOU HAVEN’T) you’ll notice that one of the subjects we touched on was bringing emotion into a presentation. It’s so important to convey to your audience how much you care about what you’re presenting but it’s also an invaluable tool to use to really submerge your audience into this pool of information you’re providing them with.
Say you’ve got a killer data story together and you are certain that you knocked it out of the park. At this point, you are only HALFWAY through delivering the incredible presentation you have in your head. A huge piece is the verbal aspect of presenting and that always includes emotion. You know this, we have all been there. You know, sitting in the most boring presentation in history on the verge of falling asleep from boredom. For all you know, the visuals they provided you during this dull except of time could have been the most beautiful and thought out display of the century, but the presenter was talking so monotone that it would have put Ferris Bueller’s teacher to sleep and in turn, no one really grasped the information he was trying to convey. To really get your audience to grasp the message, or to keep them from falling asleep before you get to it, is to have animation and stay engaged.
Just try to keep in mind that there’s a time and place for showing emotions and a data story presentation is DEFINITELY the right time and place -- it can change the entire way your audience perceives your information.
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