1.6 Key ideas about connecting through your character

    • Your presenting character is how you connect as a human being with the other human beings in front of you. It includes your personality traits; your attitude to your audience and your content; and your individual worldview and values.

 

    • Character is the most powerful engagement tool in the toolkit. Much of the power of the other tools comes from how they shine a spotlight on your persona for the audience. So, it’s safer to use the techniques in this tool intentionally once you’ve developed your self-awareness and had experience with many different kinds of audiences.

 

    • Connect as a person before you communicate as an educator. This is particularly true when your audience doesn’t have to listen. Our effectiveness as informal educators depends much more on their perception of our human qualities than many of us dare to imagine.

 

    • The audiences you work with are initially more interested in you, than in anything you do or say, unless you happen to be doing something extremely engaging. Learn how you can exploit this social aspect of human nature to connect your audiences with your beloved material through you.

 

    • Imagining you are excitedly sharing an idea you care about with your friends is the best way to clarify your character as a novice educator. Don’t overthink it, but be a bigger version of this person onstage.

 

    • For more experienced educators, express your character by carefully editing and exaggerating. Select the “best version of you” from your complex and multi-faceted personality for that audience and role; without adding any extra traits. And then carefully exaggerate these qualities so they project from the stage.

 

    • The more you exhibit behaviours involving participation, play, pressure and power, the more the audience believe they are getting to see the “real” you. These exposure behaviours, however, can just as easily reveal your character flaws as they can highlight your strengths.

 

    • When working with voluntary audiences, you need to be likeable. Show that you like them; be physically expressive; open up to them; demonstrate fairness; reveal your sense of humour; and, occasionally, lower your status.

 

    • Be human. Your learners need to see part of themselves in you. When they can relate to you, they are more likely to find what you present to be relevant and interesting, e.g. declare your struggles with a topic.

 

    • Build your trust bank with the audience early and monitor it during the presentation. In any interactive presentation, trust is your hidden human currency. Unless you can make your learners feel physically and psychologically safe, they won’t risk interacting with you.

 

    • Your audience want to have confidence in you, so you need to demonstrate authority as a presenter. However, few things reveal character as clearly as your restraint in how you exercise your considerable power.

 

    • Blend authority and vulnerability. Presentation vulnerability is about becoming more open and responsive. Human beings find it impossible to ignore someone being vulnerable. The more open you are, the more your learners will reciprocate by revealing themselves.

 

    • Character development never ends. It’s a tool which presenters re-visit and work on continually. Learning to express the most engaging version of yourself truthfully in the spotlight is the work of a lifetime.

 

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Hook Your Audience (volume 1) Copyright © 2021 by HOOK training limited. All Rights Reserved.

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