If you’ve ever given a presentation, your first priority was likely to impact your audience. When you speak in front of others, you want your message to be clear and engaging. You want your audience to like you and remember you as a good speaker. But good presenters know a winning presentation is the product of a complex formula. It isn’t just about what you say. It’s also about body language, facial expressions, timing, and confidence.

What if you think you’ve nailed all that . . . but you haven’t?

Martin Newman helped coach the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid team to victory through personal impact techniques. One of the most important: understanding the gap between what you think you’re showing your audience and what they’re actually seeing.

In this video, Newman shares his tips and tricks to close that gap and impact your audience the way you want.

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“There is always a gap between how you want people to see you, and how you actually come across.”

Martin Newman:

I want to tell you a specific story from Tokyo 2020, which explains one of the deep principles about getting this right.

Now, it’s hard, looking back at the beginning of the Tokyo 2020 bid, to remember that the bid would never have happened except for one man. And that man is [Shintaro Ishihara]. He doesn’t get a lot of credit for that now. And I believe that he deserves a lot more credit. When the bid began, of course, he was still governor [of Tokyo]. I went to have a conversation with him, and I said, “Okay, so let’s discuss the mood that you want this bid to have.”

He said, “Okay. I know the mood, and the mood is one word. And the mood is shining.”

That’s not a particularly original word. Plenty of people want to shine. We all would like to shine. But it was a very important word for the project.

I could turn a camera at any moment onto any member of Tokyo 2020 team, film them, play it back. “Let’s take a look at that together. Inose-san, let’s take a look good that together. Abe-san. Takeda-san. [inaudible] Let’s take a look at it. Are you shining?”

What’s interesting is there is always a gap—a gap between how you want people to see you, and how you actually come across.

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“I thought about the gap between this Superman in my head . . . and this old, gray, tired, sad accountant.”


I’ll tell you a very strong, dramatic example of this gap in business.

I’m sure, you know Vodafone. I know it did not have a very happy time in Japan, but it’s had a very happy time in other parts of the world. And the [now former] chief executive is an Italian called Vittorio Colao. Vittorio, besides being the chief executive of a business which has 150 million customers in over 100 countries with over 100,000 employees, is also a keen cyclist. Semi-pro, actually. And every year, if he has time, he tries to take part in a race in the Italian Dolomites.

Well, about four years ago, he was doing this race, and because he’s quite a big character in Japan, quite famous, there was a TV crew following him. It was the last day, he’d had a good time. He was really happy—ecstatic, even.

There was a TV camera in his face. He jumped off his bike. He had done the best time of his life. He said, “I felt like Superman! I felt like I was twenty-one! I felt I could rule the world! I jumped off my bike. I gave this interview, and I 100% nailed it.”

And then later, this is the way he tells the story to me: “I was in my hotel room and had a couple of physiotherapists helping me recover. And I got a text from a friend saying, ‘Vittorio, check out this YouTube link.'” He clicked, and there was the interview.

“I looked at myself, and I saw this . . . this guy. He was old. He was tired. He was gray. He was an accountant. And I thought about the gap between this Superman in my head, this twenty-one year old. This man could rule the world! And this old, gray, tired, sad accountant.” So he picked up the phone, and he said, “Martin, we better do some work together!”

That gap is there for all of us. Sometimes it’s less dramatic than in Vittorio’s case, but we all have that gap.

“Personal impact starts with self-knowledge.”


So imagine you’re trying to get into the world of business, and I’m interviewing you as a candidate. After that interview, I’ll be thinking about you. And I’ll mainly probably be thinking, “What kind of a guy was he?”

For starters, your name. I’ll remember that because it’s unique. But what would you want me to be thinking about you?

Audience Volunteer:

My energy. That’s one thing. Just to have that mental image of me moving my hands around. That mental image of my energy, the passion. And that I answered the questions correctly.


Okay. Now I’m going to play back a clip of you without volume. We’re not interested in what you’re saying, to be honest. Remember the Mehrabian Rule: 7% of personal impact is words, 93% is other stuff. So let’s look at the other stuff, particularly the visual. I want to ask two questions here.

The first is a question that only the person in the video can answer: “Are there any surprises?” When he looks at himself, does he think, “That’s exactly the way I think I am!” Or do you look at yourself and see any surprises? Because this is about self knowledge.

Personal impact starts with self-knowledge. These handy little devices (smartphones, iPads, etc.) are a very, very good way to get self-knowledge. It may sound superficial, but believe me.

The other question—which we can all try to answer—is this: “Can we describe what sort of a person we’re looking at?” Calm, excited? Cold, warm? Professional, unprofessional? If we saw this and then walked away, we’d say, “Oh yeah, I saw this guy today. He seemed like a very what kind of person?”


So any surprises for you? That’s the first question.

Audience Volunteer:

I left my mouth wide open, and my tongue stuck out at one point. That’s a surprise. My facial expressions.


You looked a bit nervous. You had energy, but you’re a little bit all over the place.

Could we describe what kind of a person we’re looking at? Cheerful? Nice? Warm? Kind? Shy? A little nervous? Those are some first reactions. But what was this man trying to give us?

He was trying to give us energy and passion, and we get warm, shy, friendly, a little nervous.

It’s a gap, but it’s a gap that he can work on. And he can work on it starting with his body. Cause he needs to be a bit stronger in his body. The energy is there, but it’s restless energy. It’s like a football player’s energy. It needs to be more focused.

This is the kind of thing we can begin to work on. Then we work on the voice, and then we work on the words.

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