Movements are started, products are purchased, philosophies are adopted, subject matter is mastered —all with the help of presentations.

Great presenters transform audiences. Truly great communicators make it look easy as they lure audiences to adopt their ideas and take action. This isn’t something that just happens automatically; it comes at the price of long and thoughtful hours spent constructing messages that resonate deeply and elicit empathy.

Resonance Causes Change

Presentations are most commonly delivered to persuade an audience to change their minds or behavior. Presenting ideas can either evoke puzzled stares or frenzied enthusiasm, which is determined by how well the message is delivered and how well it resonates with the audience. After a successful presentation, you might hear people say, “Wow, what she said really resonated with me.”

But what does it mean to truly resonate with someone?

Resonance is a well-known phenomenon in physics. You can cause an object to vibrate without any physical contact—if you know its natural rate of vibration. When an object responds to an external stimulus that has the same frequency as its own, that’s resonance. An experiment where a boy connected a metal plate to an amplifier so that the sound waves would traveled through the plate. Then he poured salt onto it. As he raised the frequency, the sound waves tightened and the grains of salt jiggled, popped, and then moved to new places, reorganizing themselves into beautiful patterns as though they knew where they “belonged.” Haven’t you often wished you could make customers, employees, investors, or students snap, crackle, pop, and move to the new place they need to be in order to create a new future?

Wouldn’t it be great if audiences were as obedient and united in thought and intent as the grains of salt? They can be. If you tune yourself to the frequency of your audience, your ideas will resonate deeply, and your audience will demonstrate self- organizing behavior. Your listeners will understand where they must move to collectively form something beautiful: a groundswell.

The audience does not need to tune themselves to you —you need to tune your message to fit them. Skilled presenting requires you to understand their hearts and minds and create a message to resonate with what’s already there. Your audience will be significantly moved if you send a message that is tuned to their needs and desires. They might even quiver with enthusiasm and act in concert to create beautiful results.

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