Once again, my favorite conference of the year, PRSA’s Counselors Academy, was two days filled with great conversations and professional development sessions all designed to give the owners and managers of PR agencies in attendance what we need to be the best we can be for our teams, our clients and the profession.
Our luncheon speaker on the second day was Stacey Hanke. Her presentation was entitled Speak To Be Heard! and was intended to share with us how our body language, word choice and presentation impacts how others perceive. Ok, sounded good to me.
She clearly practices what she preaches. She got to the presentation about 20 minutes before it was set to begin. She walked from table to table introducing herself and asking a few questions to those that she met. A great way for the attendees to feel connected to her and most likely, her way of getting some information that may come in handy as she presents.
Now let’s keep in mind that making presentations is what she does for a living. She trains executives to feel more confident in one-on-one meetings as well as large-scale presentations. But so do many of us, so even with her prepared remarks and experiences, she knew she was still going to need to customize some of the content to our needs.
And she delivered!
During her one-hour presentation, she asked us to stand-up and partner-up with one of our table mates. Each of us would have 90 seconds to tell the other about a project we were working on. If you were the listener, you were given the task of stopping the conversation when you heard the dreaded “filler” words like “so,” “um,” “sort of,” etc. It is amazing how often we say those words.
The second exercise, same partners, was to tell more of the same story, but this time, the storyteller would be looking everywhere but at the person listening. I know we’ve all experienced a conversation with someone who’s always looking at something else. How does that make you feel?
It’s not just our words but our body language as well that factor in to successfully delivering our messages. If your content isn’t consistent with your body language you don’t have a chance to communicate your message, according to Stacey.
So, um, I think I’ll try to, you know, work on this a bit, and see well, if it really makes a difference.