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Speakers’ expressions before and in a public presentation

Speakers’ expressions before and in a public presentation


Imatge inicial

When a speaker engages in public speaking, the expression shown while delivering the speech determines the effectiveness of the communication. However, in public speaking, the audience can often see the speaker before the presentation begins. Therefore, the public could hypothetically gain an impression on the basis of the speakers’ expressions even before performing the presentation.
With this idea in mind, Dr Emma Rodero, Dr Olatz Larrea and Dr Lluís Mas have analyzed the influence of speakers’ expressions before delivering a speech and during the presentation. The study included two brown-haired/dark-eyed male and female and two blonde-haired/blue-eyed male and female presenters to investigate the effect of appearance and gender. A total of 200 participants looked at the speakers’ pictures with five different expressions before delivering the speech. They then watched videos with the same speakers and similar expressions while delivering the speech.
The results showed that happiness was the most pleasant and positive expression, followed by confidence, indifference, shyness, and anger when the participants watched the speakers before the presentation. However, confidence was considered the most pleasant, credible, and comprehensible expression, followed by happiness, anger, shyness, and indifference, while giving the speech. In both cases, female presenters were perceived as the most pleasant, and brown-haired/dark-eyed speakers were considered the most pleasant, credible, and comprehensible. The speakers’ expressions were perceived as more intense before the speech than during the discourse.
This line of research helps understand the influence of these two crucial moments in presentations, and the results may be transferred into practice for public speaking training. The results have been published in Profesional De La Información.



Rodero, E., Larrea, O., & Mas, L. (2022). Speakers’ expressions before and in a public presentation. Pleasantness, emotional valence, credibility, and comprehension effects. Profesional De La información, 31(4).





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