Joy, Fear, Disgust, Sadness and Anger.
Five abstract concepts at the heart of Pixar’s animated movie Inside Out, which together describe our key emotions.
I’ve seen all of these emotions displayed during presentations or media interviews.
The goal of this blog is to help you understand how you can apply this logic your own presentations and interviews.
Ultimately this will help you control these emotions – and perform better as a result.
Disney Pixar’s Inside Out is the product of six years’ work and has just enjoyed the most successful opening of any animation, including the multi-award-winning Frozen.
The vehicle for this story is the tale of a young girl uprooted from her home town of Minnesota and transplanted in San Francisco.
Her Mum and Dad move home – away from her friends, her school, her ice hockey and her happy childhood memories.
Joy turns to sadness…helped along by fear and disgust…culminating in anger.
All five battle for control of her emotions in Headquarters at the centre of her brain.
The film is utterly brilliant, appealing to adults and children alike.
What will be fascinating to see will be the effect it has on children – and adults – in rationalising their feelings and getting them under control.
Fear, disgust, sadness, anger and joy can all be displayed by our clients when participating on courses, whether at our Glasgow studios or on the road, as we’ve been this week in Hamilton, Edinburgh and Fife.
Fear is the biggest player when it comes to handling the media or making a presentation.
Fear of saying the wrong thing –or fear of being ‘caught out’ as people see it, by a journalist.
Fear also is a major player when public speaking or making a presentation – or pitching for new business.
Fear that we perform badly – or fear of being unable to handle an awkward question.
I’ve seen people angry at themselves for handling a question poorly or stumbling through a presentation.
This anger has the potential to stifle learning – as we lose control of our emotions.
You can see the disgust on people’s faces as they fall below their own expectations – or forget to make a point they had planned to make.
I’ve seen people disgusted at their own body language, or at hearing the sound of their voice upon playback of media interviews or presentations.
And then there’s sadness – that feeling of deep disappointment in ourselves, in our interview, in our presentation.
Sadness at failing to impress on front of their more senior colleagues.
But what about joy?
It’s available to everyone – but is sometimes ignored.
We can be so self-critical in the UK that we utterly refuse to accept that we’ve done a good job with our TV interviews or nailed our presentations.
The perfectionist will reject joy – because there’s always some fault to find with a performance.
The pessimist will downgrade the value of anything they do…and choose disgust over joy any time.
The person who accepts that all interviews and presentations are imperfect can find joy by performing extremely well.
And recognising that while perfect is an impossible dream, excellent really does exist.
So let’s get one thing straight: we need ALL of these emotions – joy, sadness, disgust, fear and anger – at some stage of our emotional journey.
They have a role to play in bringing us back to a sensible place when we lose balance and perspective.
Fear tells us that there is a danger in getting our presentations or interviews wrong – so work hard to make them right.
Disgust is the stick we use to hit ourselves with when we screw up. But take it easy – or we’ll beat ourselves up.
Sadness shows a vulnerability – attractive to others – that we can be disappointed and it’s OK to show it at times.
Anger helps us let off steam – rather than shut down or blow ourselves to bits when under pressure.
Joy is the moment when all the learning, the practice, the execution come together with that warm feeling that you’ve succeeded.
You’ve got it right – and performed to the best of your ability.
We deal with people every week who struggle to take the abstract concepts of their business, such as wealth management or law, and make them interesting.
Some feel resigned to a life of people misunderstanding what they do and so body-swerve explanations about their business.
But we can all take a lesson from Pixar – and work hard to make our story relate to the audience, as Inside Out does so well.
Just as Inside Out has done with the five big emotions, we want presentations to come alive – and leap out at the audience.
Few of us know ourselves Inside Out – but Disney Pixar has just made it a whole lot easier to understand our conflicting emotions.
Bill McFarlan is the managing director of media training and presentation skills training firm Pink Elephant Communications in Glasgow.
You can view his full profile here.
Photo credit: David Blackwell. / Foter / CC BY-ND; Cl W P / Foter / CC BY-SA; Ferran. / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND; pullip_junk / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND; San Diego Shooter / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND; BraulioMS / Foter / CC BY-NC
Some media trainers knock you down…and leave you down. Our media coaches show you how to deal with each knock…and still win through. So you have the presentation skills to perform – with confidence.