Top Ten Things Every Presenter Needs To Know About People: #10 – People Imitate Your Emotions And Feelings

Man looking mad

Your facial expressions and body language communicate information and affect how people react to you and your message. They can also cause other people to start feeling a certain way.

People imitate what they see – If you are smiling, they will tend to smile; if you are energetic yet relaxed, then your audience will tend to be energetic and relaxed too. Which means YOU have to make sure you are rested, prepared, relaxed, and passionate about your topic. When you are, those feelings are communicated through your words, tone of voice, and body language and are picked up and felt by your audience.

Mirror neurons firing – Let’s say you are watching your friend who is holding an ice cream cone that is starting to drip. Your friend lifts her arm to lick the dripping cone. Mirror neurons in your brain will fire as though you are lifting your arm (even though you aren’t).

Mirror neurons are the starting point of empathy – The latest theory is that mirror neurons are also the way we empathize with others. We are literally experiencing what others are experiencing through these mirror neurons, and that allows us to deeply understand how another person feels.

(V.S. Ramachandran has a great Ted talk on mirror neurons.)

When you are passionate about your topic your audience will be passionate – People like to watch and listen to someone who is animated and excited about what they are talking about. If your topic does get you excited, don’t hold back. Show how you feel. That feeling will be contagious. If you aren’t excited about what you are talking about, then reconsider the topic or your approach to it. You need to find an angle on the topic at hand that will get you excited.

This post concludes the series: Top Ten Things Every Presenter Needs to Know About People. Besides this post here are the other 9 (links below) or check out my book – 100 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know About People (link is in the sidebar to the right):

#9: If You Want People To Act You Have to Call Them To Action

#8: People Are Energized When The Room Is Full

#7: People Assign Meaning To Your Hand Gestures

#6: People Need To Feel Safe To Participate

#5: People Assign Meaning To Your Tone Of Voice

#4: People Read Your Body Positions Instantly & Unconsciously

#3: Multiple Sensory Channels Compete

#2: Writing By Hand Can Increase Commitment

#1: People Learn Best In 20 Minute Chunks

 

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Posted in emotions, presentations, psychology
3 comments on “Top Ten Things Every Presenter Needs To Know About People: #10 – People Imitate Your Emotions And Feelings
  1. mary beth rettger says:

    Looks like your links to the earlier topics in the series don’t work?

    • admin says:

      Hi Mary Beth,

      Thanks for alerting me to this issue. I think I fixed it for this series, although I’ll have to go through and fix other blog posts… happened when I ported the blog to its new home.

      Susan

  2. Toni says:

    Great article! It’s so true that your passion for a topic shines through to your audience. Remaining animated and excited about your topic is essential if you want to keep your viewers interested! Really enjoyed reading this – thank you!

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I'm a Ph.D. psychologist and I write and videoblog about how to apply psychology and brain science research to understand how people think, work, and behave. For more information about me and about the Weinschenk Institute, check out the Weinschenk Institute website.

Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D.
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