To Win, Presentations Require Emotional Intelligence

One of the fun parts of my job is the ability to draw insights from juggling the diverse set of issues I address in an average week.  Working with our Vistage CEOs, we focused on Emotional Intelligence. Working with Presentation Excellence, we focused on ADAP – our simple formula for great presentation. It occurred to me that people who focus on ADAP to produce winning presentations are using their Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

ADAP stands for Audience Driven, Authentic Presentations. After helping over 5000 (executive-level) presenters develop winning presentations, we saw a clear pattern: they built and delivered their presentations using these two key ingredients. To be Audience-driven, you need to understand where your audience is coming from. This includes a variety of issues, including:

  • How “ready” are they to accept arguments you present (from opposed to already convinced)
  • How is the message presented : to what extent is it based on logic vs. emotions
  • How does the format influence receptiveness (e.g, structure, time-length, ease of finding the key points quickly,graphics, text, numbers, charts, etc.)
  • How does the setting (place, time of day, etc.) affect attention-spans

To deliver an Authentic Presentation, you believe in your message and commicate the message passionately to the audience. That’s done through speech (e.g.,tone, pacing, inflection, etc.) eye-contact, body language and mannerisms, interpersonal distance, etc.

Emotional Intelligence, which was popularized in the book by Daniel Goleman, is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.  It consists of a set of Emotional and Social Skills that Influence the way we:

  • Perceive and Express Ourselves
  • Develop and Maintain Social Relationships
  • Cope with Challenges
  • Use Emotional Information in an Effective and Meaningful way.

As you can see, we might expect people with higher EQ to do better at designing and delivering presentations!  Indeed, Google notes that it’s the key to both personal and professional success.  For over 15 years, we’ve been using this approach when we train and coaching our clients to use ADAP for winning presentations.  Now, we will develop more format tools which a wider audience can use to test their EQ and ADAP capabilities. To stay informed on our progress, contact us.

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