Have you ever been giving a speech when all of a sudden you thought to yourself “I wonder what they are thinking?” I mean, you’re standing up there running your mouth and the audience is sitting out there looking at you, but do you really know what’s running through their heads right then? If you did know, how would that change what you were saying? It turns out that the best speakers DO know what their audience is thinking and they DO adjust their speeches to match this. You can do it also – you just need to have emotional intelligence…
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
So I’m sure that we all at least think that we know what emotional intelligence is, but do we really know? From a top-level view, emotional intelligence is simply the a speaker’s ability to be aware of their own emotions and the emotions of those who are around them.
It turns out that emotional intelligence is very important in our overall success. Somewhat surprisingly, studies have shown that a person’s emotional intelligence can be a bigger factor in their overall success than their intellectual aptitude. In fact, some say that up to 90% of the success that you’ll have in your life can be directly tied back to your emotional intelligence.
The author Daniel Goleman who wrote the book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ
believes that there are four “pillars” to your emotional intelligence:
- Self-awareness: understanding what you are feeling at any point in time
- Self-management of behaviors: the ability to control your emotions including your body language, facial expressions, etc.
- Social Awareness: the ability to be aware of what people around you are feeling.
- Relationship Management: the ability to develop and foster relationships with others.
The good news about emotional intelligence is that these types of skills can be taught and learned. One of the key skills is for you as a speaker to become adapt at reading facial expressions.
As a speaker, in order to truly connect with your audience you are going to want to create the correct mood between you and your audience. This means that you are going to have to be able to identify what their current energy level is so that you’ll know how to steer it going forward. Based on your opening comments, you should be able to read your audience’s facial expressions and using your emotional intelligence you should be able to determine what their mood is.
This ability to “read” your audience and adapt to their mood is what can turn a good speech into a great speech. Audiences really respond to a speaker who seems to fully understand where they are at. If you can use your emotional intelligence to connect with your audience, then you will be well on your way to becoming a great speaker.
What Does All Of This Mean For You?
The goal of any speaker is to find a way to connect with their audience while they are delivering a speech. A powerful tool that we have to do this is called our emotional intelligence. This skill is simply our ability to be aware of how we are currently feeling and how our audience is feeling.
Once we are aware of the power of our emotional intelligence and know how to use it, we can change how we give speeches. Being able to sense how our audience is feeling gives us the ability to adjust how we deliver a speech on the fly. We can adapt our message to how our audience is currently feeling.
Speakers who are able to connect with their audience are the most powerful. They have the ability to change the world just a little bit with each speech that they give. Use your emotional intelligence to connect with your audience and watch what happens!
Question For You: Do you think that it is possible to prepare to adapt your speech before you start to give it?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Hopefully everyone knows who Nelson Mandela is – he’s the South African leader who’s tireless efforts helped to get rid of his country’s oppressive apartheid policies. What is less known is how he marshaled world opinion in order to support the change that he wanted. It turns out that one way he made this happen was by giving speeches that uniquely connected with his audiences…