And that is precisely the problem. In our communications, it’s often what people see – not hear – that impacts whether or not they believe what we say.
Optical illusions prove this is true. Take a look at the video here – a stationary three-dimensional figure appears to follow you wherever you go. We see something and our brain immediately makes assumptions about what we see- in this case, the structure of the dragon’s head. We believe it’s a dynamic, animated figure, when it’s really just a motionless piece of origami.
And with the classic illusion of the young/old woman, once we’ve made that initial assumption, it becomes even more difficult to “see” the other version and believe that it’s true. That’s why it’s so critical to have a consistent message – both in the verbal (content), as well as the visual (behavior).
If seeing is believing, then it’s pretty darn important. If it’s important, then we should prepare. But do we?
Nope. We go straight to PowerPoint, spend hours creating complex slides with minutia, and spend very little (if any) time rehearsing the actual presentation. The result? We use PowerPoint as a crutch – focusing on the slides instead of the audience – compromising our confidence and credibility in the process. The audience sees and believes that we are uncertain, and become hesitant of our message.
Treat your audience as a bunch of Doubting Thomases – make sure they see what you want them to believe. Here’s how:
- Crystallize your point of view, and the key action steps and benefits for the listener
- Build SIMPLE visuals (slides, props, film clips, etc.) that support your message
- Practice, practice, practice! Rehearse your presentation three to six times – both to nail down the content, and insure that your behavior is consistent (think: posture, movement, energy)!
Remember… You’ve Got To Be Believed To Be Heard!