BPS Research Digest recently published an article on how the facial expression of a listener affects the way the speaker uses language. Here's an excerpt:
"Audiences differ. Talk to one person and your words are welcomed by a smile and nod of acknowledgment. Speak to another, less winsome listener and your words are confronted by a frown and folded arms. According to Camiel Beukeboom, these different responses systematically alter your use of language. Speak to a positive listener and you'll likely use more abstractions and subjective impressions, whilst if you talk to a negative listener you'll probably find yourself sheltering in the security of objective facts and concrete details."
I find that I do work harder to prove my points when audience members looks skeptical or closed-minded; when the audience appears to be "with me," smiling, nodding, accepting, I tend to go in a more emotional direction. I'm curious now to observe my future presentations more closely for the above-mentioned phenomenon.
Have you ever experienced this -- consciously -- as a speaker?
Read the full article here.