Probably not the first names that pop into your head when you think of excellent public speakers, right? Cold-blooded psychopaths plus one creepy doll sure! Public speaking role models – no way.
But yes horror movies (including their creepy villains) have 3 vital lessons to teach us about public speaking this Halloween.
Be crazy obsessed about your victims audience
These psychos plot. They know where their victims hang out and what they like to do (which apparently is to make-out a whole lot). They understand their pain points (literally) and always seem to be one step ahead. Sure, they use this super power of stalking, but speakers can use it for good.
You need to be fanatical in your quest to understand your audience. Not scary obsessive, but helpful obsessive. Ask the right questions and stalk them online to get to know all there is to know about them.
Presentations are not about you!
Who’s on your side?
Have you ever found yourself yelling at your television set when Jason is creeping up slowly behind the back of an unsuspecting teen? “He’s behind you. Look, behind you.” In horror movies, you cheer for the survivors. You want to help them out and so you yell at them…as if they can hear.
The same thing can be said about your audience. They want YOU, the speaker, to succeed. Have you ever watched a speaker struggle on stage. Perhaps the PowerPoint is not working, the mic has screeching feedback or her index cards went flying. It’s uncomfortable. It feels awkward. You just want to make it better for the speaker.
The audience is on your side. They want to see you succeed and have a good experience up there. They are not to be feared like Leatherface, but embraced as your valiant rescuers (although don’t those guys usually get offed?)
Make it the ride of their life
Horror movies excel at ratcheting about the tension and letting the audience off-the-hook. In Halloween, Laurie kills Michael Meyers, there is a release of the scary tension you’ve felt all through out the movie.
It’s over. Our heroine survived. All is well.
Bam! Meyers springs back to life with a 1000% more blood-lust than before. Struggle. Laurie finally put an end to him.
Sure, this is now the most cliched way to end a horror movie, but it shows the importance of giving your audience an emotional ride.
Pack your presentation with ups and downs. It makes the audience wonder what gonna happen next and keeps them on the edge of their seat! Remember, end on a high note – it’s depressing when the hero doesn’t survive.
If you missed last year’s post, click to find out what zombies can teach you about public speaking.
photo by: Nomadic Lass