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Immersion: what if your attention is contagious?

Updated: May 13

Engaging is not what you think.

Engagement is the key to a great presentation,

But it isn’t at all what you think.

Let’s start with what it’s not:

It's not interaction with the audience.

At least not in the sense of:

  • questions back and forth

  • or chat comments

  • or online polls

Don’t get me wrong:

back and forth is the end goal.

After all, we want our presentation to lead to:

  • a conversation back and forth

  • further exploration of our ideas

  • an offer to join in and team up

But that is the second step. The first step is to present. And for this to be successful:

Immersion is the key.

This step happens more quietly.

Immersion is when the ideas we share consume our audience.

These ideas command our audience’s full attention:

  • the audience at this step engages with our ideas

  • they play with them to find meaning

  • sort through them for significance

  • explore them to find impact.

I call this audience immersion: it’s when time stands still as possibilities open up.

And this should be the gold standard for presentations.

The very best presentations are immersive first.

Immersion is then followed by conversation,

and conversation leads to action,

and action leads to impact.

But how does this happen?

spoiler alert: you have to go first.

The idea behind the idea and your next steps

The power of your body language and your voice is not a trick I can teach you.
It is the natural, authentic outcome of your own immersion.

Our work together exploring delivery is about learning to give yourself permission to be fully present. This process has 3 co-dependent components: you need to do all 3.

  1. The first is learning to control your anxiety. This is a mental process, a physical practice, and trust. The speaking anxiety imposter syndrome / speaking anxiety module addresses these 3 issues. If this feels like a major barrier to your ability to present, you need to start doing this work, and you need to be kind with yourself as this work will take time.

  2. The second is about body language. You need to learn to both be more grounded and and more dynamic. The module on body language will help you.

  3. The 3rd is about voice. You need to allow yourself to feel, and then allow your audience to hear how you feel. You also need to allow yourself to slow down, giving time for these emotions to occur and be shared. They are important enough, there is 1 voice module for each.

From the research files:

Give a listen here to Vanessa Van Edwards talk about delivery and emotions. After coding thousands of TEDTalks she uncovers body language issues that every presenter would benefit form knowing.

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