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The Emo­tion Map

How do you want your audi­ence to feel after your speech? “Good, of course!” Obvious, right? Alright, then I do have a bit more tricky ques­tion for you:

How do you want your audi­ence to feel DURING your speech? When you now say “Good” again, we should start expanding your vocab­u­lary a bit. How about sad, happy, cap­ti­vated, inter­ested, relieved or angry? “Why the heck would you want your audi­ence to feel angry?” Because it is a strong emo­tional reaction!

When we abstract down our human exis­tence, we very quickly land in the realm of bio­chem­ical reac­tions. These cause emo­tions and feel­ings. The driver for our actions.

Sto­ries, books, movies, and even music take us on an emo­tional roller­coaster. They create mean­ingful expe­ri­ences. The greater the con­trast between ups and downs, the more enjoy­able. And isn’t it exactly what we want our talk to be? Enjoy­able? A mean­ingful experience?

Strong emo­tions and feel­ings help us to remember expe­ri­ences and infor­ma­tion. How strong a feeling is usu­ally depends on the feeling prior to it. Every­thing is rel­a­tive. These turning points of emo­tional change or con­trast can become a pow­erful tool when designing a presentation.

Let’s get emotional

Studies show that only about 10% of our pre­sen­ta­tion is remem­bered after one week. The remaining 90% evap­o­rates into thin air. Even bolder and brighter bullet points do not help us hammer the so valu­able infor­ma­tion into the brains of our audi­ence. But what actu­ally decides what 10% of the talk is being remembered?

You and only you! If you amplify the parts of your pre­sen­ta­tion of great value with strong emo­tions, you ele­vate them above the rest. Try making a time­line of your talk and think about a couple of emo­tions you want your audi­ence to go through. It is impor­tant that these emo­tions and feel­ings are not over­lap­ping them­selves, but take over from another.

This is your Emo­tion Map!

You will find that sud­denly a lot of infor­ma­tion you wanted to include in your pre­sen­ta­tion does not seem so rel­e­vant any­more or is hard to incor­po­rate within the Emo­tion Map. But maybe that is a good sign that these bits of infor­ma­tion are not as rel­e­vant and would do your real key mes­sages more harm than good.

Bottom line

It’s feel­ings we care for, not infor­ma­tion. During our talk, our audi­ence goes through a range of emo­tions and feel­ings. When we do not design these emo­tional reac­tions, we leave it to chance what emo­tion is being trig­gered. Having a clear goal for our pre­sen­ta­tion means we have to take their reac­tion into our own hands. An Emo­tion Map can help you to lay out the emo­tions you want your audi­ence to expe­ri­ence. On top of that, designing a pre­sen­ta­tion that way is really fun!

Thank you for reading.

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