I was doing a bit of reading the other day and I came across this soundbite.
“Research shows that in a presentation before a group, 55 percent of the impact is determined by your body language – posture, gestures and eye contact – 38 percent by your tone of voice and only 7 percent by the content of your presentation.”
(Mehrabian and Ferris, ‘Inference of Attitudes from Nonverbal Communication in Two Channels’, The Journal of Counselling Psychology Vol 31, 1967 pp.248-52)
Watching your audience and seeing how they respond to you is an interesting, if perplexing, thing. I’ve had many discussions with other presenters over the last couple of years about the balance between information and entertainment. From my own experience, the presentations I enjoy watching the most are the ones where I feel a connection with the speaker. Likewise, I enjoy presenting when I feel a connection with the audience. Since this sort of connection has very little to do with content, I find myself agreeing with the above quote.
Anyway, enough of this hippy stuff…
PS. If you are teaching a course for an exam, please don’t remove all the content and replace it with slides of your dog. An audience love-in won’t get them through the exam.