In public relations, you are frequently asked to draft collaterals and support your clients in media relations and events, but, more often than not, you may also be required to provide media training to your client spokespersons.
The reason for that is delivering an ideal interview relies on the questions and answers as well as on engaging with an audience, positioning the speaker as a trustworthy and reliable source of information.
Media training helps spokespeople understand the media, provide reliable information, have real-time exercises, and get the chance to evaluate themselves. But it doesn’t stop there!
When it comes to TV interviews, panel discussions, speeches, and one-on-one interviews, there are several micro-expressions that can help spokespersons better engage with an audience.
Micro-expressions are brief facial expressions that last for a fraction of a second. They occur when someone conceals an emotion, whether deliberately or unconsciously. There are seven universal micro-expressions: happiness, shock, contempt, anger, disgust, fear, and sadness.
Those closely observing your reactions may feel like your micro-expressions are an attempt to conceal information, and thus decreasing your reliability, especially as such expressions are an accurate reflection of your feelings that are quickly adjusted once consciousness kicks in.
Anyone who has spoken in such situations before has surely felt nervous. You even may have wondered “what questions could they ask me?” or “I hope I don’t freeze!” Your anxiety and nervousness is usually a result of the challenge of reading people’s reactions.
Can psychology help you identify people’s reactions and better control yours?
Understand Your Micro-expressions to enhance your speaking abilities
Getting to know your and other’s micro-expressions when verbally communicating can help you control them to a certain extent or even rectify your wordings.
When in verbal communication, a flicker of the eyelids or twitch of the lips can betray the other person’s thoughts. Therefore, I have listed four of the commonly exhibited universal micro-expressions to help you in such situations.
Shock: it is one of the most noticeable micro-expressions and is mainly characterised by an illuminated face and widened eyes. If you encounter shock in communication:
Stop doing or saying whatever it is that provoked that reaction
Give yourself or the other person the chance to clarify the situation by addressing the reaction
Happiness: This reaction usually occurs when things are going well and is seen with the sides of your lips curling upwards and your eyes wrinkling slightly in the corners. If you see such expressions on the other person, simply keep doing or saying what you already are!
Contempt: This usually occurs when you talk about a previous experience or address a problem and is characterised with a corner of the lip tightened and slightly raised on one side of the face. Now, this can be positive or negative, depending on the context. If the expression coincides with what you are doing or saying, keep going. If not, you need to change course.
Sadness: Similar to contempt, it also occurs when speaking about previous experiences or a troubling dilemma and is a drooping of the eyelids, downward pull of the lips, and loss of focus in the eyes. Just like contempt, sadness micro-expressions depend on the context of your speech
It is fascinating how psychology can affect your verbal communication. Uncovering the secrets of psychology is not a process that is completed in a day.
Antoine Boghos is Account Manager at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. | www.cbpr.me