Using Facial Expressions in a Speech

“If a picture paints thousand words than your facial expression should be at least a couple hundred”, by Dale Obrochta

Are you like me and enjoy watching speakers with great facial expressions with their message?  When I see these presentations, I’m entertained. I grade the speaker higher at a conference. It wasn’t until I started studying facial expressions that I realized speakers use facial expressions to help sell the dialog, progress the story and develop a character back-story. It is not just there for entertainment but for a reason.

From being an entertainer, I know facial expressions are not easy, as one has to fully commit to making a face and “acting” while presenting. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel silly while making a facial expression, but I have tossed in jokes to help make a point in a presentation. I now realize facial expressions are a way to convey a message to the audience, just like a graph, slide, prop, or any other tool we use to help express an idea.

Think about how comedians use their facial expressions to help tell their story.  The actors use facial expressions to take simple words more powerful.

Facial Expressions enhance dialog, and this is important when dealing with a short speech.  That one facial expression can really more words in a short time and create a bigger impact than entire scenes or two.  The power of a smile can warm an audience, and a look of distress can bring words to life.

I will share two things that I’ve learned about using facial expressions, and that is

1. they cannot be rushed

2. you have to commit 100% to them

Failing in either one of these creates a disconnect, and the facial expressions become more of a distraction than the value to a speech.  The last thing you want is the audience’s inner voice questioning. “What was that about?”

Facial expressions are great to use when telling stories but consider using them in your daily life.  When talking about positive events, smile. When confused, toss in a bewildered facial expression.  After all, we express ourselves with our voice and use our face to help sell our message. The nice part about facial expressions is we carry them on us all the time. We have to remember to use them. That’s the tricky part.

Here’s a video that gives examples and ideas on enhancing a presentation with facial expressions and how to use them in your business and daily communications.