Do you know how to make someone feel emotion? Thanks to Aristotle, every public speaking class teaches you to “utilize an emotion appeal” (Aristotle’s pathos). Unfortunately, they never tell you HOW.
In my first university public speaking class, the instructor gave the assignment to:
“Write one speech utilizing a logical appeal, and one speech utilizing an emotional appeal.”
I, too, can
“play that game” “obfuscate the proclivity for incognizance”–but I fail to see the “appeal.”
This is why you should avoid university public speaking classes–they don’t know what they’re talking about! I hate to include everybody in such a universal statement, but the more academic the approach, the less “practical” the effect.
What’s wrong with business presentation skills?
From the academic perspective, presentation skills are all about the “appeal” of the speaker. Keep in mind that in academic language “appeal” doesn’t necessarily mean the listener likes it.
Our education system has trained so many people to define “pathos” instead of feel “pathos,” that when I walk into a Fortune 500 boardroom to coach an executive, “emotion” is usually the last thing they think they need.
Emotion has no place in business.
So they say. And they wonder why they’re so
If you actually look at the science, emotion is not optional. It’s
essential not superfluous–at least if you want faster decisions, more accurate decisions, and more attention–not to mention more motivated, longer lasting, more detailed, and more accurate recall.
Why would I want people to actually remember what I say?
Side note Modicum of elucidation: If you are a hifalutin public speaking professor, I should clarify that this post is not to be taken completely literally without prevarication. It comes with a healthy dose of “emotional appeal” wanton facetiousness.
If you really believe “emotion has no place in business,” then fine. Just don’t expect people to remember what you say.
It’s about results
If my public speaking instructor stopped for 2 seconds to step outside of her textbook and into the real world, she wouldn’t have asked for an “appeal.” She could have given an assignment that made sense:
Give a speech that makes the audience feel emotion.
On your mark, get set, feel sad!
3, 2, 1, feel happy!
It’s easier said than done.
It would have been nice if the teacher actually told us HOW to make someone feel emotion. Teaching me what “pathos” means won’t help my audience feel anything.
Emotions the Easy Way
Replace narration with dialog.
Or in other words, say something that belongs in quotation marks.
Warning: The following is a bad example.
Warning: The chairperson (and sole member) of the MichaelSpeaks committee for the dissemination of inter-mutual consideration on mediocre archetypes has approved the following hypothetical dissertation fragment.
The client is not happy that we missed the deadline.
It’s almost like business people are trying to deliberately
be boring exclude emotion. Watch what happens when you add quotes:
Frank, the client’s sales manager, said “I almost lost a $50,000 sale because of you!”
All you have to do is change “client is not happy” to a quotation. The real words that the client actually said will be charged with real emotion, whereas your restatement will not.
And guess what? The listener will feel more emotion and you’ll never be blamed for being too emotional–you’re just quoting someone else!
Let’s try it again.
We expect the final proof from graphic design by Friday.
I told Mike, “Hey, I’d like to see the design proof by Friday.” He said, “It’s gonna be awesome.”
Subtle, yes. But that’s the point. You don’t actually have to TRY to include emotion. You just quote real people and the emotion will already be there.
That’s why when you read good fiction, half the book is usually dialog! That’s also why when you read non-fiction, you fall asleep.
You can even
quote yourself incorporate self-referential parlance:
I thought to myself, “Dang. I love the new logo.”
You don’t have to tell anyone you’re using “emotion.” Just insert dialog into your presentation.
Dialog is just one of many techniques from the violet “Engage the Subconscious” principle in my SpeechDeck Communication system. It’s one of the easiest ways to apply emotion in a business setting–or any setting where overt “emotional appeal” might be frowned upon.
All of those “business” people who think emotion is “super silly” won’t even notice. All they will notice is that your
less of a jerk not as supercilious.