Does Your Presentation Pass the Hallway Test?

  • SumoMe

Hallway Test2Imagine for a moment that you and I work in the same office building.  One day, as I am passing you in the hallway, I look at you and say, “How many of you have ever eaten at Arby’s?”

How would you react?

Would you, confused, turn around to see if I was talking to a group?

Most probably, yes.

Would you think I was speaking directly to you?

Most probably, no.

If I had been speaking directly to you, I would have asked, “Have you ever eaten at Arby’s?”

That’s how we speak when we are talking to one person.  We use “have you . . . ?” instead of “has anyone . . . ?” or “who has . . . ?”

One subtle, yet powerful, way you can engage your audience is to speak to the individuals in your audience.  You can do that through substituting the personal “have you . . . ?” for the impersonal phrases such as “have any of you . . . ?” or “has anyone . . . ?”

If you aren’t sure about a phrase, use the “Hallway Test.” Imagine passing someone in the hallway and saying it.  Does it sound odd?  Does it sound like you are talking to an individual or to a group?

If you want people to come up to you and say, “I felt like you were speaking directly to me,” then use the “Hallway Test” on your presentations.

Click here for further explanation and demonstration of the Hallway Test by Craig Valentine, 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking.