Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

Seriously.  There's a simple head movement, combined with eye contact, that will impress your audience. And it really is simple: Look around to find individuals.

Every now and then (maybe every second or third individual) give that person a very small nod as you give them direct eye contact for between one and two seconds.  The nod has to be very small, almost imperceptible. The eye contact is not much more than a single heartbeat. Then move to someone else.

Why does that impress the audience? 

Because we all have a subconscious wish that whoever talks to us is actually interested in us.  In just a few seconds, even though you haven't reached everyone yet, the entire audience gets the feeling that you are more interested in them than in your own survival.  Now they're more likely to listen to your message.  I told you it was simple.

That's not your challenge. Your challenge is to deal with your inner voice of caution which will whisper This feels and looks weird. So here's a suggestion. First try it out on at least two friends. Family maybe? Sit them down in front of you, tell them exactly what you need the feedback on, then - talking on a serious topic - look from one to the other with the nod and the direct eye contact. Ask them how it looks.

Now for a real audience. If you can arrange it, get a friend to sit in and give you subtle signals. Thumbs up - looks good. Palm up - do it more. Palm down - do it less. The beauty of that is that your voice of caution settles down instantly on the thumbs up.

Have fun. 


Interested in a workshop for your team on presentation skills? Contact us We'll put you in touch with a training specialist, not a salesperson.


About Michael Brown

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Michael is a senior trainer with Skillset, based in Christchurch.

He is a leading authority on training in presentation and news media skills in New Zealand. He has special expertise in how to present emotionally charged topics to challenging audiences. Michael has trained thousands of New Zealanders and worked with people who speak on behalf of some of the country's largest organisations.

Michael is a prolific author and his books on speaking and working with the media are in their fourth editions.

Speaking Easy: how to speak to your audiences with confidence and authority

Media Easy: how to handle the news media with confidence and authority

One of Michael's books is about his family's adventures sailing in the Pacific.

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