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Being attractive to large groups, crowds and communities

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Eeee . . ., why do I have empty seats? Where are my students!!!

Much of my life, I’ve taught in Universities. As we all know well, our ability to lecture varies enormously. Some people pack the rooms, and students from other courses are sneaking in the back. Some people empty the rooms, and are never quite sure how they do it!

Most of us are somewhere in between. Delighted when we delight the students and a little curmudgeonly when students are missing because we would just love to know how the stars pack them in.

Oh . . . that’s where my students are!

I was privileged to work alongside someone with theater training, who taught marketing, and who had worked in broadcasting. This was great! She could hold a room AND explain how she did it.

She asked questions about her performance differently. Instead of seeing everything as function of what she did or didn’t do (and also entering a negative emotional spiral when an hour wasn’t too sparkling), she thought about what the class was doing.

She thought about people entering, and taking their seats. What were they feeling and what were they doing? How they changed as she entered? How they reacted when she flicked the microphone switch to green: go. How they listened to her first sentence. How what they felt changed? etc.

She understands classes well enough to choreograph their reactions.  Whatever she did was aimed at producing a wonderful collective experience.

Now I have found someone else who can explain charisma!

I am a member of Xing, which is the European equivalent of LinkedIn. It’s worth looking at because it runs on slightly different lines.

Erica Nelson posted this brilliant article in Xing’s group for Global Business Women group. It is about how to write an attractive blog.

It’s also sage advice for thinking about presentations, lectures, meetings, and for that matter, going to a party! Erica also writes here.

Thanks Erica!

OOPS!  Link seems to have broken.  I’ve written to Erica (2 November 2009)



  1. galbabright galbabright

    Hello Jo: Erica’s article is sound. Her pointers seem to me to speak to developing a broad vision for your work. The breadth of thinking will create other opportunities. I was in the recording studio today. Whenever I prepare for a radio/podcast interview, I start by asking “what feelings am I seeking to engender in my listeners”

    Starting with the end of mind is a general principle. It’s not confined to LOA. Do you have any thoughts about whether LOA and EQ are connected?

  2. scotchcart scotchcart

    I think you have three points, Galba, or three points I see early on a Saturday morning.

    Starting with the end in mind is something I have been brought up with. Over the last year, I have developed some reservations about this which I will try to write down and clarify for myself some time over the next month.

    Thinking about the feelings we are going to engender was less part of my upbringing which was more formulaic – action and result were confounded so one thought about it less and just did it. Thinking widely and deeply about the other parties’ reactions is also part of NLP. Athletes, for example, are not only trained to run but also to think of what they will feel when they pass another runner, and what the other runner will feel!

    There is a another level too, relating to my first point, which is the way excellent speakers co-create with an audience. Obama seems to have this quality.

    I need to think through the relationship between LOA and EQ. For the moment, I might just say, they both involve thinking though an event in its social context. Or feeling through might be more appropriate!

    It will be interesting to write this down – ah – will there be more reflection and less action this weekend!

  3. galbabright galbabright

    I agree that effective presentation must involve some give and take. That’s part of what that empathy exercise was about. I think that type of interaction requires quite a bit of senstivity on the part of the presenter.

    I’m not sure if you’ve seen these articles

    You might also enjoy the Norman Vincent Peale series at Tune up your EQ

    My initial thought is that EQ gives a person tools to make LOA a reality. I look forward to learning what you conclude after your reflection.

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