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TED Speaker coach Michael Weitz illustrates the Art of Impactful Communication



GGI Business Review is a new business series, capturing snapshots of the GGI Harvard Case Style Masterclass by CEOs and Industry Leaders.


This particular piece is a snapshot from Michael Weitz's GGI Masterclass.


 

Living in a world where socializing is deeply embedded in the culture, everyone wishes to leave a lasting impact while socializing or communicating with others. But how does one actually leave a lasting impact on others? Well, the best way to leave an impact on someone is through impactful communication. Communicating impactfully helps a person stand out from the crowd thereby leaving a long-lasting impression on everyone.


The most common thing among the world’s greatest leaders is that they are masters of communication and have cracked the essence of communicating effectively in a way that people are able to connect to their ideas effectively.


This art of impactful communication is clearly visible in many TED Talks, where the speakers are able to deliver their speeches very powerfully in a way that leaves an impact on the audience. Michael Weitz, the Co-Founder of Virtuozo further explains how the impactful methods used by powerful communicators around the world, through his vast experience of coaching TED Talk speakers and many other industry leaders the “Art of Impactful Communication”.


IMPACT COMMUNICATION


While communicating, very few of us know how we actually come across as a speaker while communicating and what we do well in this process. Moreover, we are less aware of what kind of qualities are our strengths. So, while communicating, laying importance on the following three areas can lead to more impactful communication:

  1. Strategy: It includes thinking about the strategy of your speech before going into any talk/conversation

  2. Content: It includes crafting your messages in a way to move the audience towards your goals

  3. Presence: It lays importance on devising ways to come out as your most impactful and charismatic self

Impact in spoken communication is the overlap of three circles of connections.


A - Connection to your Audience

B - Connection to your Body and voice

C - Connection to your Content


Where these three circles overlap, is where the Impact and Charisma take place.



During our normal day, we spend a lot of time in the red area where we are connected with all three circles while talking to our friends or family, here we are not really looking at the situation and are just sharing our thoughts while communicating. but when we get into more high stake situations where we might have to prepare a bit for communicating, then we tend to lose the connection with one or more of these circles, for example, while giving a speech to many people.


Three circles of connections:

  1. Connection to Audience- It lays importance on making the audience feel important. It doesn't just mean using eye contact with the audience, rather the speaker should focus on making the audience feel that the speaker has their attention and that they care about the audience’s reaction to their talk. Studies by neuroscientists have shown that when a listener is engaged with the story of a speaker, then their brain pattern matches the speaker’s brain pattern and it's called “Neural Entrainment” where the brains actually connect.

  2. Connection to Body and Voice- It is about how we can use our Body and Voice to help to increase our impact and also about getting to know things that decrease our impact. For example, changing voice tone between ideas, or getting rid of distracting gestures. Additionally, sometimes body and voice connection is also about staying still, depending on the situation. So it’s important to be aware of body and voice coordination while speaking and make sure that the audience feels what we’re saying to them.

  3. Connection to Content- Connecting with our content is really important and it does not just involve how much we know what we’re saying but how much we believe in what we’re saying and why it is important to us. It is important to get behind the “WHY” of our content to make the connection feel more authentic.

As a speaker, we think we can hide our emotions and feelings from the audience but when the audience is really connected while listening to someone then they can read the speaker like an open book. So while planning the strategy of our communication, thinking about why it is really important to us is really vital.


MAKING YOUR PRESENCE FELT


Often times when we get into stressful situations or when we are underprepared then we tend to speak faster and speak more words, whereas in such a situation what we should do is take a deep breath and actually say less. More than half of our presence while communicating has got nothing to do with the words we say, but rather the way in which we present ourselves.


Our hands are the analogue version of PowerPoint and help us illustrate things better

One way to make our presence felt while speaking is speaking with passion and conviction. When we speak with conviction about a thing we are truly passionate about then that is the moment when we are the most persuasive while communicating.


Furthermore, effectively using voice modulation while communicating can also help in making a lasting impact on the listeners.


There are two ways to do voice modulation effectively:

  1. Inside-out method: It involves thinking about the feelings of your voice and how others would feel after listening to it.

  2. Outside-in method: It involves the usage of five levers of voice modulation that we can play with:

    • Length of phrases - Speaking in long sentences vs short phrases.

    • Intonation and melody - Use of bright or dark tones to show if something is good news or bad news/large or small/happy or sad.

    • Pace - Speaking Fast vs speaking slowly; We shouldn't be speaking at the same pace during our whole speech.

    • Power - It refers to the volume of our voice; Loud vs soft.

    • Silence - Sound coming out of the mouth (speaking) vs no sound (silence).

Using any one of the above levers would help with voice modulation and help us come out as a more dynamic speaker.


PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT


It is rightfully said that “Practice Makes Perfect”. So, in order to become a more impactful communicator, practising the aforementioned techniques frequently would help you in becoming a more impactful communicator over time, thereby acting as a critical tool for your growth.


 

Michael Weitz is the co-founder of Virtuozo, a Tel Aviv-based consultancy that works with executives, leaders and speakers around the world to enhance their abilities as communicators. He spent 10 years in the theatre business as a director and producer of plays and national tours on and off Broadway. Since 2013 Michael and his team at Virtuozo have been speaker coaches for the TED Conferences.


Michael enjoys building communities. He is a founding member of EO Israel, a founding producer of the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF), and a former Chair of the Global Marketing Committee for the International Coach Federation (ICF).


Michael holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from The George Washington University.


 

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