If you follow us on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/awareplus) you’ll have seen this video already: it’s Beyonce doing what Beyonce does (not the having babies thing, the singing thing) at the United Nations World Humanitarian Day, 2012. Watch it full screen with the speakers up – and with a tissue handy.
I’ve written elsewhere (on our main company blog) about how cool the idea is and what we do to try and made the world a better place – but this is a presentation skills blog, so let’s talk about the presentation skills!
Firstly – the video. Wow. Do I need to say more?
Secondly – the song. Cool. Again, do I need to say more?
Thirdly – the two of them together. Look at how each one reinforces the other – notice how all Beyonce does is stand still and let the words and the visuals do their thing. She just gets out of the way and uses her voice (and the technology!). She understands that what matters here is the message, not her. Most trainers forget that they’re not important and think get worried about what people think of them – sorry, but no one cares about you. They’re here for the message.
Of course, that hasn’t stopped her from dressing for the occasion to give it a class and dignity. How many other presenters think so carefully about what they wear. If she’d turned up in jeans and trainers with a baseball cap on sideways would it have worked so well? I doubt it.
Three levels of communication – physical, intellectual and emotional. Without all three, you’re wasting your time and your audiences’s.
If you’ve been on one of our training courses, or read Presenting Made Simple, you’ll know about the three levels of communication – physical, intellectual and emotional. Without the first, nothing can happen and Beyonce and her team made sure that the microphone and projectors were working!
Intellectual communication means your audience ‘gets it’ in their heads and understands your point – but it doesn’t change behaviour. Just ask any smoker who knows it’s bad for their health but who doesn’t give up. So what Beyonce does, what all great presenters do, is get to the third level of communication – the emotional one. In our jargon it’s called ‘contextual understanding’.
What that means is that people begin to change their behaviour.
Only if you reach the emotional level of understanding in your audience will they bother to remember or apply anything you’ve told them. Only if you get the third level will there be any point in getting to the second.
Does Beyonce do that?
Well, did you cry? Did you clench your jaw and promise yourself you’ve got to do something to make your mark on the world. Anything?
Yeah, us too.