Creating great video is hard. Creating great video that transcends the 2D experience and transfers emotion from the speaker to the audience is harder. And being happy while you do it? That seems the hardest, but according to Shawn Achor, it’s worth it.
As we wrote about in a previous post about Ze Frank, the world will soon belong to those that can present into the camera so well that the audience may mistake their screen for a window. But the key issue in teaching people—you know, to make sure people remember what you’re telling them—isn’t as simple as speaking clearly with zany facial expressions and cool graphs.
The key issue is helping people find their happiness, as Achor’s research shows it is integral in the learning process. Happiness literally opens our mind to new opportunities, new connections and new ways of thinking that neutral or negative feelings close off.
Yes, that’s right: happy people learn better. Happy people tend to like other people more. Happy people are more likely to agree with the person that made them happy. Sounds simple, right? If that’s true, why do we trust Jon Stewart more than we trust salespeople?
We trust comedians like Stewart because they make us laugh, which releases chemicals that make us happy. This idea, which isn’t new to anyone used to giving presentations, is often executed poorly. For bad examples, think any performer that steps on stage and yells:
“HOW ARE YOU DOING TONIGHT?”
“I CAN’T HEAR YOU, LET’S TRY THAT AGAIN!”
“HOW ARE YOU DOING TOOOOONNNNNNNNIIIIIIGHT?!”
Steve Ballmer’s DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS speech is a good example of this. So is every bad comic and far too many middle-aged speakers at schools growing up. Each of them lacked a fundamental ability that every good speaker should work on, even at the expense of their content: connecting with the audience.
Next time you’re on stage, filming a company learning session or at the bar with your friends, remember this: happy people learn better, and they’ll like you more.
So tell a joke.
And don’t be afraid to laugh along with them.