No, this is not a yoga exercise. We won’t be getting together to practice deep breathing drills. Being able to “focus your energy” will be a terrific tool you can use right away.
When you see a great communicator, you know there is something that sets them apart. Often we have a hard time putting our finger on it, so we say they have an “excitement” about them or an “intensity.” It can be called “charisma” or “personality,” but it really comes down to one thing: Energy!
And here’s the great news. You don’t have to bounce around or act like a high school cheerleader. “Focused energy” exhibits itself in a clear presentation delivered by someone who cares about what they are talking about. Often you see it in the person’s eyes and their voice takes on added intensity. Movements are more purposeful and come naturally.
The first time I remember seeing this in action was when I met and interviewed Hugh Downs about five years ago. Hugh is in his 80s and before we did the interview he came across as a sharp but older version of the Hugh Downs I remembered from his years as host of 20/20. Until we turned on the camera — suddenly he was the Hugh Downs I remembered! As the consummate professional, Downs knew how to “focus his energy” and bring sparkle to his answers. While he may hold the record for number of hours on network television, Hugh Downs teaches us all a great lesson.
How do you know if you are doing everything you can to come across in a presentation or media interview with “focused energy?” Here are three suggestions:
First, know what it is you want to get across. The best speakers know exactly where they are going with their message, even if they take a few detours along the way.
Second, remember your body language. A focused speaker leans forward or sits up and uses his or her hands to underline the message. We communicate far more with our body language and voice tone than we do with the words we use.
Third, know the level of understanding and interest within your audience. Who are you really talking to and how can you get the message to them in a way that will mean the most? Are they formal or relaxed? Do they want “just the facts” or are they looking for some emotion to get your point?
Here’s a final thought. The next time you are called upon to speak before any kind of audience look through these suggestions and put them to work. “Focused energy” gives you the competitive edge, moving what you have to say to that very important next level — setting you apart and leaving your audience with a great lasting impression.