Communication Matters Newsletter
MillsWyck Communications - March 2018
How to Express Passion When You Speak
Sound Like You Feel
When it comes to selling – your product, your ideas, your goals – we often fail to convince others of the passion and commitment we feel inside. Since passion, confidence, and enthusiasm are inferred from our actions, it’s crucial to SHOW these critical components and not rely on our audience to INFER from our content or implications. The outcome: misunderstanding, loss of buy-in, and missed opportunity.
It’s a recurring argument when I coach speakers, and I know it’s coming. “ I want to appear authentic! ” It’s a noble intent. Who doesn’t want to be true to themselves?! But how you FEEL about yourself and how others OBSERVE you can be miles apart, and this chasm causes problems for speakers.
As part of a talk I gave, I was demonstrating how this discrepancy looks. I had a volunteer from the audience talk about something that was important to them. I don’t recall the topic: human rights, feeding the hungry, world peace, saving the whales, spaying your pet. Whatever. He talked for about 90 seconds and I stopped him. I asked the audience, “ On a scale of one to ten, how passionate do you think he appears about this topic? ” People shouted out numbers, as low as two, and as high as six. Our volunteer speaker was aghast – perhaps even angry. He almost shouted, “ I would DIE for this! ” An audience member shouted back, “ Then show us! ” It was a powerful moment of realization for him. And us.
This difference in perception identifies the problem. We know our heart. Others can only see our behavior. Stephen Covey (Jr.) says it clearly in The Speed of Trust : “ We judge ourselves based on our intent; others judge us on our behavior. ” 

Here’s another way to prove this is true. Think about a person who has really upset you while driving. Perhaps they cut you off, followed too closely, drove slowly in the passing lane, nearly crashed while texting, or stole your parking place. What do you think of them? You don’t know them, but you have some choice words – perhaps four letters long – to describe these social outcasts. But what about your driving? Have you ever committed such an egregious act? What do you think of yourself? Honest mistake? Lapse of judgment? Or perhaps even, “ Wow – I’m good! ” Then consider what other drivers are thinking of you!  I

It’s behavior that drives people’s impressions of us.

Which brings us back to a speaker’s behavior and how to appear authentic to the audience. If you want to drive the impression you are passionate about your topic, what should you do? People who don’t know you won’t even care about your ACTUAL passion, they will only judge you based on your demonstrated passion—your behavior. Want to give folks the impression you are glad to be on stage (usually accompanied with a dry, “ I’m so happy to be here… ”)? Then you need to LOOK happy.

It’s simple to understand. And easy to think you can do it. Until… you see a video of yourself. We get two comments from our workshop participants over and over when they watch video of themselves before they receive coaching. “ I thought I smiled more! ” And… “ What am I doing with my hands?! ” Those behaviors are sending out a message. The question becomes, what does your audience think that message is?

Being authentic does not mean you only present in a manner that makes you feel good. You may argue that you’re just not that demonstrative. Neither was I. Until… I decided that the impression I made on my audience mattered more than how I felt. If it takes making huge gestures to convince someone that I’m passionate and want their help, then I’ll flap my arms until I fly. If modulating my voice can move someone to action, then I’m willing to practice speaking in whatever tone will work. I think that’s about as authentic as someone can be—matching the opportunity on the stage with a result that the speaker is convicted about.

This realization is not enough. These skills must be practiced with the careful eye of a person or group who love you enough to tell you the truth.  Bigger! More! We want CRAZY! Because that’s what it FEELS like. But it just LOOKS… passionate.

Sounding like you feel—and not presenting to feel good—is a skill that is hard to master, but ultimately worth the effort because of the reaction and response you will get from your audience.  
When someone listens to you speak, would they know the passion you feel about your topic?

Communication matters. What are YOU saying?
Client Experience 2018 Conference
CXps2018 Customer Experience Conference
Sound Like You Feel Presentation

CXps2018 is where innovators and leaders responsible for designing and implementing client experience strategies for their firms come together, get inspired, and strategize. This year's conference will feature Alan Hoffler presenting "Sound Like You Feel: How to Express Passion When You Speak."

Upcoming Public Workshops
Upcoming Public Workshops
2018 Public Workshop Schedule
Raleigh, NC
Mar 12--13
May 14-15, Aug 27-28,
Oct 15-16, Dec 10-11
Aug 29

We'll be in Richmond, VA!
Richmond, VA*
March 19-20
March 21

* To sign up for Richmond class, email us at
Sneak Peek Video
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Need a Speaker for your Event?
Alan Hoffler, founder and director of MillsWyck Communications, is a Business Communication and Presentation Skills Expert and accomplished keynote speaker. He uses the skills he teaches to craft authentic, custom messages that energize and motivate audiences.  

Alan's Signature Business Communications Topics:
  • Winning Communication - Strategies to Connect and Convince
  • Presentation Sin: The Practical Guide to Stop Offending (and start Impressing) Your Audience
  • Why Modern Business Communication is Killing Productivity (and what you can do about it)
  • The Silver Bullet: The One Skill Every Communicator Should Use
  • Sound Like You Feel: How to Express Passion When You Speak

Check out the full list of Alan's   keynotes or contact us a bout customizing a presentation or workshop for your group. If you need a speaker for your next corporate meeting, professional organization, or conference, contact us at
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MillsWyck Communications
Communication matters. What are YOU saying?
Alan Hoffler, Philorator (Teacher & Lover of Speaking)
(919) 386-9238 

Alan Hoffler is the Executive Director and Principal Trainer at MillsWyck Communications. He is a Trainer, Speaker, Author, and Coach who passionately moves others to effective and engaging communication.