So last year’s Best Picture Oscar went to a story about public speaking – and this year, it’s all about what can be done with silence. “The Artist” makes amazing use of gestures, gazes, graphics and music to engage us in a simple love story.
Corporate stories are rarely quite as straightforward, but business presentations can really benefit from similar performance techniques. Sometimes all it takes is a couple of dramatic moments to underscore a key message, or focus attention on an important issue.
Great presenters can do this simply by pausing at the right moment. A moment of silence gives the audience a chance to absorb what is happening and prepare for the next moment.
The right gesture evokes an emotional response without resorting to explanation – and that is key to delivering memorable performances. Appropriate gestures signal authenticity, and build credibility for the speaker.
And of course, sound and graphics can lend a great deal. That’s why great presentations are often the result of teamwork among talented specialists. And if someone can tap-dance like Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo, well, that could be a plus!