Captivate your audience: inspire through emotion

Emotions move your audience in the desired direction

Can you remember the last time you were really captivated by a feature film? What captivated you at the time? Were they impressive 3-D images like in “Avatar”? Or was it strong feelings that the film triggered in you?

Perhaps it was the thrill of watching the main characters go on their adventures, the sympathy in a drama, or even the unrestrained laughter in a comedy. Virtually always present are moments of suspense and curiosity as to how the story will now continue. No matter what movie is on your mind right now, you certainly weren’t impressed by an actor uninspiredly reading off his lines in front of a white screen.

What applies to good feature films can also be applied to good presentations.

If you do not succeed in arousing emotions and curiosity in your listeners, you will achieve little attention and thus little effect.

But what emotions are to be generated during a pre-show and, above all, how? Does it matter whether the audience is pleasantly or unpleasantly touched, or should it basically only be good feelings? Which emotions are best? Here, of course, it depends on the target group and the occasion. If you are speaking in front of the staff of a company that is threatened with insolvency, it would certainly not be effective to present your speech in a particularly funny way. It is just as inappropriate to stir up fears about the future if you want to sell a risky investment with your presentation. Most of the time, a speaker will try to elicit a mix of different emotions from their audience to keep their attention.

Are there any boring topics?

Imagine you need to create a status report on a small project of your department in PowerPoint. It’s probably about adherence to the schedule, problems encountered, current workload in the project team, etc. That really doesn’t sound exciting. But remember, if you are bored with the topic, it will carry over to your presentation. You will almost inevitably bore your audience in this case. So it’s important to have a positive approach to the topics you want to present. So ask yourself what might motivate and excite you about the topic or project. Is it the technical challenge, the moment you celebrate graduation, or the recognition you get for your and your team’s performance? Only when you develop feelings yourself can you trigger feelings in others. Try to transfer your own positive emotions to your auditorium. This can also be practiced in presentation training.

But what you feel yourself, of course, does not automatically reach the other person. Only if you really use all means of communication, you can transport emotions to your audience.

What tools do you have at your disposal for generating emotions?

your own voice

the body language

an evocative choice of words

the ability to tell a good story

Graphics, images, animations, video clips

Build an arc of suspense!

In all good thrillers or adventure films, the tension builds slowly but steadily. It would be unthinkable for the commissioner to convict the villain after five minutes and then just ponder how successful he was after all. The viewer wants to be held in this feeling of suspense for as long as possible. So this thrill is important. For this reason, you should make sure that you create a tension already in your introduction and maintain it for as long as possible. If you present the final result already on the first slide, it will be very difficult to keep your audience’s attention permanently.

So you arouse your audience’s emotions through excitement, curiosity and a good story. A story generates images, and images in turn generate emotions. Images are created by

– actually show images in your presentation

– Create images in the imagination of your listeners (head cinema)

– Expressing feelings through voice and body language

Emotions are the fastest and most efficient way to reach the audience. Even very sober, headstrong listeners can usually be animated to feelings and inner images.

Dipl.-Wirtsch.-Informatiker Matthias Garten is the expert for multimedia presentations. He is an entrepreneur, speaker (TOP 100 Speaker), trainer (TOP 100 Excellence Trainer), multiple book author, presentation coach (presentation training), member of the GSA and Club 55, organizer of the Presentation Conference, Presentation Bootcamp and Presentation Rocket Day. In addition to PowerPoint and presentation training, he inspires and advises companies to present themselves even more effectively and thus stand out from competitors. He is the business owner of the presentation and PowerPoint agency smavicon Best Business Presentations and with his team has created over 15,000 presentations for over 150 industries since 1993.