It's been my obsession for more than 20 years. What attracts the respect of your audience, regardless of their culture, language, race, religion, age or gender? What attracts their personal respect for you even when they don't like your message?
The answer is remarkably simple. (And it's nothing to do with being word-perfect, or the way you use PowerPoint.)
Just two core qualities attract all audiences: the presenter's personal strength, and the presenter's connection with them. And almost all of us are are inherently capable of both of those qualities.
But, of course, there's a catch.
Under pressure, our self-protection instinct kicks in. Just like a curtain, we pull an opaque screen around us, that stops the audience seeing those core qualities. What's the screen? Self-consciousness. How ironic that our self-protection instinct weakens us in the eyes of the audience.
So. What to do about it. How do we best flick back that damaging screen so that audiences can see us at our best? Here's the most practical, simple, useful tip to come out of training many hundreds of people. It's the tip most likely to lead to that phrase 'life-changing'.
Make it obvious that you want your audience to get the message.
No, it's not enough that you want them to get it, the magic ingredient is in showing that you want them to get it. For most of us that means deliberately getting more animated with our voice and body language. More importantly it also means getting busier with our eyes, emphatically seeking people out. At home, try this: look in a mirror and show an interest in your own face - watch your eyebrows rise, your eyes widen.
Audiences respond. They feel respect. I like that.