When does expressive become crazy?

by Sarah Lockett on June 22, 2020

I’ve become aware that I may look crazy. What I mean is: when I’m doing Zoom calls, I catch myself flailing my arms around, flashing my eyes and using my eyebrows, mouth, face, shoulders, hands and general ‘body language’ to emphasise what I’m saying. But at what point does all this become bonkers?

Many people have a much more low-key style than me. They feel uncomfortable emoting, gesturing, stressing looooong vowel sounds, pointing, clapping, waving expansively, thumping the table (Boris Johnson). And yes, there’s a happy medium.

Impero Virtual Round Table, with Sarah Lockett

But the opposite of expressive is: expressionless, inexpressive, unemotional, dead-eyed, dull, drab, boring, unengaging. And who wants to be all those things? On the other hand, too much emotion, hysteria, agitation, excitement, discomposure, animation, exhilaration will not help you get your message across in an authoritative, reassuring, persuasive, credible, controlled way. You need just enough passion, but not too much. It’s a difficult balancing act.

When I do media training, I have to remember that everyone has their own style, pitch, tone and energy. It’s tempting to want people to say things the way I would say them: stress this word, show some passion, demonstrate enthusiasm, convince me! And these instructions are all valid. But at the same time, people must use their own words and their own style. Just better, more polished, more engaging and more compelling for the audience. And that’s an art that can be taught.

For media training via video call, in these Coronavirus times (individually or in groups) get in touch via info@sarahlockett.co.uk)