Careful content development with the goal of appealing to emotions will amplify connections between speakers and their audiences, inspiring audience members to action. SHARPs are emotion-triggering elements that should be woven into every communication to engage people’s emotions and inspire them. SHARPs include:
*Stories: Stories stir feelings and help people create visual images in their minds. Stories lead to action. To weave stories into their communications, speakers must first know the points they want to make and how their presentations will end. Stories should make listeners care and be willing to invest in what speakers are saying. By creating a curiosity gap, speakers can set the stage so the audience anticipates the connection between the information shared and the story. Lastly, speakers should draw from their own experiences as much as possible and tell personal stories. Being authentic and willing to share builds trust.
*Humor: People listen when others make them laugh. Well-placed, light-hearted, and self-deprecating humor engages audiences and heightens emotional connections. Humor can also diffuse uncomfortable situations, such as when there is a technical problem.
*Analogies: Analogies help people understand information they might not be familiar with or have knowledge about. Analogies “turn a light on” in people’s minds.
*References and quotes: References and quotes are one of the easiest ways to add emotional components to presentations. They can quickly bring topics to life in just a few words.
*Pictures and visuals: Pictures and visuals, including video clips, props, and even physical entertainment, serve to magnify emotional connections with the material being shared. To be effective, pictures and videos must follow the three Bs. They must be:
1. Big (to be seen).
2. Bold (to be quickly understood).
3. Basic (so they do not take away from the presentation itself).