Monday, February 28, 2011

What you DON'T say matters too

Last week I had the perverse pleasure of working in Scranton, PA. Sure, it's the home to the fiction Dunder Miflin Paper Company and the sometimes we wish-to-be fictional character "Lunch Bucket Joe" Joe Biden, but if you're stuck there like I was, it becomes all too real.

Please consider these facts; it was 11 degrees, they have something like 4 feet of snow on the ground, it's actually quite close to Appalachia (scary), two of our bags never arrived. Safe to safe, I'm not a big fan of Scranton.

But Brian, your blog post title teased me into thinking you were going to say something important...what gives? Well, while in Scranton, I witnessed a classic example of body language and it's power in presentations.

The dining options in Scranton featured all of the usual suspects...c'mon, you know which ones. We deduced the least painful option to be of a scarlet-colored variety, especially between Monday and Wednesday. WORK WITH ME PEOPLE!!! I can hear the Stones song in my head right now, got it??? Very good. Let's continue.

Okay, we walk in and we are NOT greeted by a friendly, happy face. Instead it's our waitress, they had obviously let the hostess leave, as the place was empty. So now waistress-turned-hostess-yet-still-waitress is large and in charge. She's in no mood for another table, but the place is scheduled to be open for another TWO hours!!!!

We did not feel special, cared about or even welcomed. We didn't get a simple smile and we certainly didn't feel like our soon to be delivered dinner would be good, no matter how tasty it actually turned out to be.

The point of all this is, when you say things in a presentation like "It's great to be here" you better damn well mean it!!!!!! Be truthful with your emotions because your audience can pick up the truth, even if you try to hide it.

Remember, emotions are the key to connecting with people during a presentation. Sure, you all like to think it's great information. WRONG ANSWER...try again. It's EMOTION. Do you really think people remember bullet points or data-dumps? NO!!!! They remember how you made them FEEL.

So, the next time you're looking for dinner in Scranton, be sure to remember the Rolling Stones, hum a few bars of that tune, and you'll know where NOT to go.

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