The True Language Of Communication

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Research done at UCLA found that 93% of what an audience takes away from a presentation actually has less to do with the words. It turns out that audiences are savvy enough to “feel” the intention of the speaker. But even though it accounts for a mere 7% of audience impact, content is the main thing on which most presenters focus! Given that 93% stat, it’s actually the audience’s trust, retention and interest is the MAIN thing worth cultivating.

So, what makes up that 93%?? Energy! It’s been proven to be quantifiable and measurable and it’s not even dealt with in the vast majority of communication trainings undertaken. Big mistake given that 93% stat!

Because authenticity and transparency are the most highly valued commodity for the actors and directors with whom I’ve been working for the 31 years I was an award-winning film and television casting director, not only do I know how to spot it, I’ve developed the ability to help uncover and foster it in the non-actor, clients with whom I work. It’s not about teaching “acting.” The very unique experience of presiding over close to literally hundreds of thousands of high-pressure auditions, has helped me discover, hone and support my clients in achieving their most effective communication skills. It’s about uncovering and removing the blocks to authenticity so that presenting becomes easy and congruent for the speaker and riveting for the audience.

But given the fears and conditioning with which most of us have been raised, authenticity and transparency in front of an audience isn’t easy for most people to accomplish just by simply stating their intention to do so. In fact, the greatest number one statistical fear is NOT death….it’s public speaking!

You have to help change the perspective of the presenter/speaker from the inside and NOT the outside. That’s why merely changing body language isn’t just ineffective, it’s actually counterproductive! Hoping to change your internally generated energy simply by adjusting external behavior is not only a mistake, it creates a conflict.  The resulting cognitive dissonance, usually causes more problems and can even derail the presentation entirely.

Most of this conventional “wisdom” being used out there, deals with reams of empirical data about body language and then tries to superimpose those standards onto speakers who in far too many cases, may find this externally enforced methodology to be inauthentic for them. Trust me that the audience feels when someone’s “pretending” to be someone they’re not.

Dealing with the speaker’s intention and their perspective, transforms them from the inside out which is truly the place from which they authentically speak. Once that’s accomplished, this becomes the only real, authentic and even effortless path to take. Fortunately, it’s also the one that’s the most effective in reaching audiences too! At the end of the day, clients who’ve experienced this all agree that being themselves is ultimately the easiest way to be in front of an audience. And when they are able to do it, it actually because a joyful experience for themselves and their audiences. And best yet, it’s the best way to produce REAL results!

If you’ve ever watched a baby being handed to someone who’s nervous about holding them, you’ve watched the honest and purely energetic perception of a being who can’t experience the world any other way. They’ve not learned language or etiquette so they sense the fear, authentically pull away from the nervous person and cling to their parent. Hand them to someone else who’s looking forward to holding the baby and they’re usually fine in the new stranger’s arms!

We all start out perceiving and then responding to the world this way and even though we learn manners and become socially conditioned, that energetic receptor is always functioning for the rest of our lives. When we regularly consult it and communicate from it, full communication happens with our audiences. What’s this receptor? It’s the heart! It’s a fact that the heart has an electromagnetic field 5000 times stronger than the brain’s and not only does it communicate, it receives as well and this is backed by scientific fact. Accomplished musicians playing jazz all know about this kind of communication and have developed it to the point where they can even play and perform with others who don’t even verbally speak the same language. That’s because heart communication transcends language and it’s why language and content only accounts for 7% in the study.

Toscanini said that great performance is only possible when the “heart is on fire and the mind is on ice.” That’s the perfect combination for any presenter or communicator as well. Having been raised in the home of a world-renowned conductor, I was regularly around musicians like Igor Stravinsky, Marilyn Horne, Zubin Mehta and countless others at the start of my own musical career. I’ve performed or recorded with a wide variety of artists and styles from the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, The San Francisco Opera Company, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, Andy Williams, contemporary jazz artists, Peter White, Gerald Albright and Taylor Mesple’ and on film soundtracks like “The Godfather” and “True Confessions”. I’ve played in countless rock bands and with pop artists like Michael Tomlinson and NBC’s “The Voice” sensation, Mycle Wastman. And combined with my experience working with Academy Award-winning clients like, Milos Foreman and Bernardo Bertolucci and with noted actors like, Brendan Fraser, Paul Giamatti, Jim Caviezel, Anna Ferris and Toby McGuire, this background uniquely informs my work helping people become able to communicate from a place where their hearts are indeed on fire and their minds are on ice. And what’s even more surprisingly serendipitous to them, are that the principals I teach automatically take care of the nervousness and fear that statistically precedes presenting for most of us. Removing these blocks allows for an impactful and Clear Presentation. And……..one that actually becomes fun!