If you are continuously trying to improve your presentation and presence skills, you will want to listen! On today’s episode, I had a truly insightful conversation with Richard Newman, founder and CEO of Body Talk, an evidence-based communication training company. Against the odds, as a former introverted, shy, high-functioning autistic, Richard overcame a crushing fear of public speaking to teach advanced communication skills to business leaders globally. He shares his fascinating story that began in September 1995 when he lived in a Tibetan monastery for six month, teaching English to monks. Initially unable to communicate with each other in their respective native languages, they successfully relied on non-verbal communication, a universal way to connect and build rapport. Upon return, he worked with McLaren’s Formula 1 team, delivering a presentation to multiple stakeholders 1,000 times. Those iterations were a real life learning lab where he could experiment with different techniques to identify the most resonant ones. He then went on to conduct quantitative research to validate the powerful learnings from the Tibet and F1 experiences. He tested 2,000 people, and he found that a combination of open palms and balanced stance improved communication effectiveness by 44%! The former subconsciously conveys authenticity and the latter suggests gravitas – literally not being a figurative pushover based on how easy it to literally push someone over when they’re in an unbalanced 1-sided stance. In addition to giving us the gift of two easy-to-implement keys to success, he also shares his conviction that truly effective storytelling is less about the story itself and more about tapping in people’s emotional vs logical sides.

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