On a Ladder – inferences and kinesthetic speakers

Plane is a good place to read articles. This week, flying to Brusssels for a 4-day program with my Belgian client, I re-read an article about the “Kinesthetic Speaker” (Nick Morgan, Harvard Business Review, 2001). As often in HBR, the article is little bit longish, but the main idea is interesting: “Kinesthetic speakers feed an audience’s essentially primal hunger to experience a presentation on a physical, as well as an intellectual, level. Through an awareness of their own physical presence—their gestures, posture, and movements—and through the effective use of the space in which they give the presentation, kinesthetic speakers can create potent nonverbal messages that are consistent with and reinforce their verbal ones. At the same time, these speakers understand the audience’s need to respond physically; they read those needs during a speech, and they react accordingly. By generating kinesthetic, aural, and visual stimuli, kinesthetic speakers create a rich sensory experience for their audiences. This is in sharp contrast to many presentations, which often send audiences into a state of what can feel like total sensory deprivation.”.

Immediate application this week –  in order to explain the Ladder of Inference concept, we borrowed a real ladder from reception (Stap ladder in Flemish – very useful word) to demonstrate the concept. And my co-facilitator Philippe was so nice to ensure safety (high-heel shoes are NOT recommmended). Then, instead of talking their examples over at the table, participants went to the staircase to climb up and down their own ladders – of inference.

My impression was that it worked well. And in any case, it makes for a fun photo…


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