Exploring Emotional Tracking for a Perfect Public Speaking Performance

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Wearing the Affect-tag band, Olivier Janin, CEO of Neotrope, tracked how his emotions fluctuated with practice performances of a pitch to potential investors. The goal was to track the digitized emotional data to determine what “practice makes perfect” looks like emotionally. The results were illuminating and left us eager to integrate emotional biofeedback for skill proficiency based on the emotional model that emerged.

Towards Increased Emotional Intelligence

Performance tracking and goal setting for improved Emotional Intelligence serves to increase motivation, manage stress, and reduce overwhelming sensations. Through awareness and management of emotions, reactions to change can be dealt with more efficiently for optimized performance. The Affect-tag solution allows for the digitization of emotions in different contexts. We wondered what the emotional pattern would look like as someone went through the process of getting better at something – in this case, pitching Affect-tag to potential investors.

Affect-tag Emotional Indicators

The digitization of emotions provided by the Affect-tag solution results in convenient indicators separated by Key Moments that answer the following questions:

  • was there an emotional reaction? If so, how stimulating was it?
  • how intense was the unconscious reaction?
  • what was the level of engagement and concentration?

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Contextualizing Pitch Rehearsal

Olivier tracked his performance four times before his final presentation in front of investors. For each round, he marked the start of his pitch using the context buttons found directly on the Affect-tag band to notify algorithms where to cut the data. By also tagging the start of the Q&A session he gained two additional metrics: (1) the length of the pitch presentation for that round to verify it remained under the seven-minute time limit, and (2) comparison of his Emotional Indicators between the Pitch and QA portions of his public speaking.

Pitch vs Q&A

Olivier doesn’t particularly like public speaking. But with three kids, he takes delight in story-telling. Selling an emotions-measuring solution like Affect-tag means injecting emotions into client and investor experiences, especially during its introduction. Were the emotions he was trying to convey evident during his pitch? As compared with the Q&A portion, he guessed that the Pitch portion of the presentation would produce a larger reaction within himself across all indicators.

The charts above confirm Olivier’s expectation: he was emoting more during his Pitch than during the Q&A session. This supports that he was able to internalize and express the emotional narrative created to present Affect-tag to potential investors and he was able to maintain rationality during the more logical Q&A portion.

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Mastering the Pitch

As was shown above, increased emotions during a Pitch can help perpetuate the narrative and be advantageous, in comparison to answering questions. But mastering delivery for the purpose of funding a startup means honing skills and steadying emotions overall. How were Olivier’s emotional reactions changing with the mastery of his presentation? Would the Emotional Indicators suggest an increased emotional intelligence as the presentation was rehearsed? A reduced emotional activation with repetition would reflect sharper skills to allow for clearer dissemination of information and better management of the feeling of being overwhelmed.

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The results show a varying Emotional Power, a fairly even Cognitive Load, and a decreasing Emotional Density with repetition of the presentation. This matches Olivier’s hypothesis that the approach to “perfect” is represented by a low Emotional Density and a steady Cognitive Impact. Surprisingly, the intensity of the emotions varies, which is most likely due to Olivier attempting to take control of his nerves and conclude within the time-limit.

Analysis of each indicator separately is insightful, but taking the three indicators together also yields important global information about the process of practice. The indicators seem to move in different directions for each rehearsal, but end up just next to each other for the final delivery. Of note is how with increased elapsed time, the three Affect-tag indicators are further separated. If optimal performance depends on finding a balanced state of emotions, can the unifying of the three indicators be the emotional model for perfection?

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