What if the thing you spend the most time on when preparing for your big presentation might actually be the thing that influences your audience the least? Albert Mehrabian, UCLA professor emeritus of psychology, found that there are three elements of communication that influence an audience:
- Visual: Not as much your PowerPoint deck as your eye contact, body movement and gestures
- Vocal: The rate, volume, and inflection of your voice
- Verbal: Your content
In the study, the verbal component accounted for only 7 percent of what influenced the audience. The study also showed that 55 percent of audience influence was based on visual and 38 percent was based on vocal elements. So don't toss your content, but remember to combine it with a good presentation style.