Today we all need to be great communicators, according to Win the Room CEO Kelly Hadous. Based on her theory that communication is “part power, part strategy, part performance,” she gave tips to improve as a communicator an Alley Boost class at Mercy College on October 21.
Great communicators exude energy and can influence, lead, sell, shift ideas, make a difference and get people to like them, said Hadous. She has studied communication and learned from her own life experiences. She admitted that she had to overcome her natural introverted personalities, as well as her insecurities about her past.
“We are living in a society that requires us to be extroverted,” Hadous said. Because of the Internet, she said, we all need to be more transparent.
The communications coach found that telling her personal story, although difficult, has made people feel comfortable and actually like her more. Hadous told the group that she grew up in a rough neighborhood in Staten Island and never excelled as a student. She was kicked out of 8th grade and dropped out of high school. At 19 she worked on Wall and went on to get degrees from NYU and Columbia and study communication.
She said telling a story is very powerful. To tell it right, you need to take the audience on a journey and have a dip.
When asked how to balance empathy, Hadous said to tell personal stories carefully. She said talking about her past makes people like her more. If it can help people, she said it is worth telling the story.
“Make sure it serves your audience and it’s appropriate,” she said.
One of the most key aspects of communicating is being aware of who the audience is, Hadous said. Most presenters think about themselves and what they want to say when it’s important to consider the audience.
Another trick is to think about whether they are more left or right brained and what type of information would interest them. Left-brain people might want to hear more about what, how and the results. A right-brained audience would want more why and who.
“Be a whole brain communicator,” Hadous said.
She suggests checking out the Neethling Brain Assessment.
Extroversion and presence
Introverts prefer to be inside their own head and get energized from within. It differs from shyness, which is more of an anxious self-awareness. On the other hand, she said extroverts love to be around people. They get energized from interpersonal interactions. She said leaders often have 20 percent more energy than everyone else.
One of the most important things leaders have is a strong presence. This means their voice can be heard and it fills the room. It also involves having high energy, and positive, open body language. She said introverts often look unfriendly, so they need to work on their presence and adopt some extroverted traits.
“If you are standing up in front of people, the last thing you want to do is be an introvert – you look snotty, you look like you don’t care,” Hadous said.
Mirroring and changing state
When two people have an exchange, they often subconsciously mirror each other to make the other person comfortable. Hadous said we mimic breathing, facial expressions, eye contact, proximity, vocal tones and posture to match the other person.
This comes to play in presentations because you should pick up on the vibe of the audience and try to tweak your approach based on that. If they have a ton of energy, be playful and interact. If audience looks bored, walk forward and amp up the energy.
“You have to learn how to read a room and give them what they need,” Hadous said.
Her top pitching tips are to have integrity, a relevant story and emotions. The audience should leave changed, engaged and trusting.
She said don’t limit answers to yes or no because it shuts down exploring conversation. Answering with “no, but...” tends to stop the conversation and upset the other person. Instead, react to the audience or the other person. Explore a solutions, listen and acknowledge and use the response, “yes and…”
Cover the 5Ws and the H:
Who – give your background
Want – think about what the audience wants
When – the time of day matters, is it morning, before lunch, evening, late at night?
Why – crucial, why are you here, what’s the audience’s pain point
How – how do you go about getting the audience where you want them to be
Think Greek. Consider these three aspects of public speaking and which you will focus on in your presentation.
Logos – the logic of your argument is a content piece
Ethos – what is your credibility, is who you are match who you are?
Pathos – your emotion, how do you affect someone emotionally, art, movie, great speaker
How do you tie it in? What’s the call to action?
And of course, Hadous said the best thing to do is to practice.