He has coached people to give Congressional testimony, to appear on the Today Show, and to take on the investment community. He has worked widely with political and educational leaders. And he has himself spoken, led conferences, and moderated panels at venues around the world. He founded his own communications consulting organization, Public Words, in 1997.
Geetesh: Tell us about the work you do, and the books you have authored.
Nick: We work with clients — both individuals and companies — to help them tell their stories. The world has less and less attention to pay to more and more stories, so they have to be good to be successful. We work first with people on finding the story in their content, the one that will grab people’s interest. Then we help them figure out how to get that story out to the world in the most effective way, whether it’s a book, a speech, social media, television, radio — or some combination of all these.
My first book, Give Your Speech, Change the World, was published by Harvard in 2003 and reprinted in 2005. It discusses how to put a persuasive speech together, how to tell a story, and analyzes some famous speeches, as well as giving some advice on delivery. My second book, Trust Me: Four Steps to Authenticity and Charisma, shows how recent brain research changes our view of effective communications, and reveals how to persuade people in a variety of settings, using both ‘conversations’ — content and body language.
I’ve also written 4 ebooks, published on Amazon and iTunes: The King’s Speech – Lessons for Leaders; How to Tell Great Business Stories; How to Read Body Language; and 7 Steps to a Great Speech.
I’m at work on a new book about a breakthrough in how we understand communications. Stay tuned!
Geetesh: How can presenters communicate more effectively with their audiences, with more trust and charisma.
Nick: You create trust and charisma through good content and consistent body language. Every communication is two conversations — the content and the body language. When those are aligned, you can be effective. When they’re not aligned, people believe the body language. Most people spend a lot of time worrying about their content, but very little thinking about their body language, so they’re leaving their reception up to chance.
Trust comes first from showing that you understand an audience’s problems, and then leading that audience to a solution. Trust does NOT come from dumping information on that audience.
Charisma is not magic; it can be learned. It comes from focused emotion. Most people have a lot on their minds, and give a presentation thinking about a number of things — how nervous they are, how soon they can get to the bar, their to-do list, all the things that might go wrong, and so on. As a result, when they get up to speak, they telegraph that mental confusion with their body language. The result is not charismatic. Charismatic people focus on one emotion — one that is appropriate to what they’re talking about and the message they want to convey. That focus makes their body language captivating — and themselves charismatic.