3.9 Key ideas about expressing your emotions

  • A zombie presenter is someone who unwittingly exhibits an emotional disconnection with their audience. There are multiple causes of this common presentation condition.


  • Enthusiastic presenters are watchable because they display a rich range of emotions, e.g. joy, amusement, curiosity, wonder, puzzlement, surprise, amazement, awe, excitement, fascination, anticipation, uncertainty, relief, triumph, pride, disappointment, confusion, embarrassment, hope, shock, disgust, anger, indignation, fear, frustration, jealousy, worry, sadness, panic and boredom.


  • The most engaging presenters vary the intensity of how they express their emotions — across mild, moderate, strong and extreme levels. It is the variation in the intensity of a feeling which is more interesting for the audience than constantly working at the peaks.


  • You need to infect the audience with your emotions.  By using nonverbal communication to model your emotions clearly, you can cause the audience to pick up these feelings themselves. This powerful effect is known as emotional contagion and it is the secret to emotionally engaging any audience.


  • The inexperienced zombie — when you begin presenting there are several powerful psychological effects that make you much less expressive than you think you are. The best approach, at this stage, is to follow a two-step strategy — relax sufficiently so that your emotions can emerge naturally; and then amplify those raw emotions.


  • As a novice presenter, it’s alright to feel as if you are being sickeningly enthusiastic — that’s not how you will come across to your audience. How you express your emotions always needs to fit your character and your learners, but it should still feel uncomfortable when you start learning how to project your emotions onstage.


  • The formal zombie — some educators can adopt a shield of formality when presenting in order to protect themselves in the spotlight. Stop hiding. Embrace the vulnerability and jeopardy of your situation. This is what makes you watchable.


  • The uninterested zombie — sometimes, as an informal educator, you’ll be required to give presentations about topics in which you initially have little interest. At these times, you’ll need to develop a range of strategies to either find or borrow interest so that you can maintain your enthusiasm.


  • The jaded zombie — to be able to express convincing emotions when delivering the same presentation repeatedly, you need to find efficient ways of recreating how you first felt when doing that presentation. You are not being duplicitous. This is an unavoidable consequence of your job.


  • The distracted zombie — challenges in our personal and work life can cause us to lose mental focus and struggle to express our emotions properly onstage. During these periods, you need strategies which allow you to compartmentalise as much as possible and concentrate on the presentation you are giving.


  • The burnt-out zombie —  emoting, on demand, in each presentation can be exhausting to sustain day after day. In order to avoid burning out, it’s important to protect your emotional and physical health; take presenting breaks; talk to colleagues; watch out for the warning signs; and seek support.


  • The over-enthusiastic zombie — occasionally, some presenters can become so expressive that this also creates a disconnection with their learners. The point at which your physical animation becomes too much depends on your character and your audience.


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

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