[Quick public speaking tip] Who cares?

Who cares?

Do you?

Does your audience?

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What about your speaking success? Do you care about that?

If you care about being successful, you are going to have to consider your audience. Success is all about them.

Consider your audience if you want to be successful.

Show them you care.

They have to feel that you have their best interests in mind, not just your own agenda.

While you are speaking to them, it has to be apparent that you care about them and what they want and need.

Otherwise you lose their trust, and the chance to entertain, inspire, persuade, compel.

…………………

Do you care that what you say aligns with your values and your truth …

about speaking with integrity?

Because if you aren’t in alignment with what you are communicating, saying, you will suffer, feel strange, removed, uncomfortable. You will have to fight it.

I spent years speaking successfully in competition, and yet feeling just that way, as though what I was doing was outside my reality somehow. It’s only since I stopped competing and started helping/inspiring/teaching with my speaking that I have realised the disconnect – I was speaking to win (success). Certainly the content was from within my own values and what I wanted to communicate, but there was always the dual interest, my audience and my success – and so the interest was divided between audience and success instead of focused on that audience.

It is sooooo much easier to show you care – genuinely.

And if you don’t, then I can only say find a way that you do, and use that as a frame for all that you present.

Use your speaking skills to create the connection with your audience and engage them. Use stories and humour. Interact with them. Call back to incidents or people they know. You have to have engagement, anyway, in order to begin the process of persuasion. And it will make it easier for you to feel in flow and connected …

and caring!

Herding as persuasion. What kind of shepherd are you? Or perhaps you are the sheep.

We fit in. We fit in with society, with our families, with our peers.

From a very young age, and from way back in the mists of history, we have been shepherded by our families, our tribe, our peers into conforming.

There was a time, and perhaps there are still times, when our very survival depended/depends on it.

So the urge to conform is strong in us,

especially in situations where we may not know what is appropriate, expected and safe.

I felt it when I attended a presentation early in my days in business.

He had already used various techniques that had me on edge, uncomfortable, aware of the not-so-subtle attempts at persuasion.

He had audience members becoming more and more excited.

“Raise your hand if …” and up went the hands.

Say “Yes” if you agree. And they were shouting “yes”.

“Who wants my freebie?” And before he had finished describing the thousands of dollars’ worth, two gentlemen were running to the stage for his USB.

“Everyone who belongs to my tribe run to the back of the room to sign up.”

And they did.

He had started with a room full of people. Many had left, but the numbers were still quite large.

I had no desire to buy.

I was very aware of what he was doing.

It was unsubtle and ugly,

and yet still I felt an outsider, uncomfortable, boring!

The power of belonging to the herd is incredibly strong.

And more recently, I attended a multi-level-marketing presentation.

I was late, partly because I was reluctant to attend, having agreed to make up numbers for a friend, and found myself sitting in a front row on a chair while about ten people sat on lounge chairs and padded chairs in an arc behind me.

And here again …

“Raise your hand if you want to live your dream.”

And the hands went up.

“Who’s excited by this offer?” And they very nearly shouted “Hallelujah!”

Then the presenter started inviting people to give testimonials and it became fairly obvious that there were only three of us who were not already members of the scheme.

Lovely to have so many people forming a community and supporting my friend who had hosted the event.

And while I felt uncomfortable sitting at the front, the herd force wasn’t as powerful as my first experience because I had gone in without any hopes.

At the earlier event I had been drawn by a particular suggestion in the marketing.

The herd instinct is a strong force for persuasion, especially in the unsure or vulnerable.

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Have you been in an audience and felt the force of it?

Perhaps you have been a shepherd, using the force – hopefully with more subtlety and integrity than those I experienced!

Enjoy the special flavour of the unpredictable

There never has been security. No man has ever known what he would meet around the next corner;
if life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavour.

Eleanor Roosevelt.

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Harsh words, those, especially for those of us who like to be prepared.

“Never.” … “There never has been security.”

Still, we try to achieve it as much as we can,

prepare for all eventualities,

do our best to avoid the embarrassment of fumbling for an answer, for forgotten words, for a prepared logical flow.

And yet we know, underneath, that what Eleanor Roosevelt said is entirely true.

There will always be the unpredictable.

And we will prepare for that too.

………………….

What about the flavour it brings though?

The flavour of life … the flavour of an unpredictable speaking experience.

I like to think that being a speaker operates on at least 3 levels.

There is me, you, the speaker.

There is what I call the eagle eye – the ability we have to watch ourselves and our audiences from above and evaluate how things are going, in order to adapt.

And then there is the concept that beside the conversation we are having with our audience is another experience, the shared experience of being together in a presentation.

We can leverage that with little moments of quirking an eyebrow at the audience as if to say “See what I did there?”, or less subtly discussing what is actually going on. We can create a shared experience in this level.

If the experience is unexpected, this is where we can really capitalise on that flavour Eleanor mentioned – enjoy the moment together with the audience,

forge a bond of shared experience,

of response to the unexpected

with humour, with pathos or with jointly created action.

So while those un-predictable events can be challenging, especially if we worry too much about them beforehand, or label them failures afterwards,

they can also be the source of some of the most powerful and enjoyable experiences a speaker can have.

[Quick Public Speaking Tip] One of the Secret Ingredients that Create Memorability

ingredient

Memorability is important for us speakers, as it is for anyone building a brand, creating change, inspiring action, or wanting to be rehired.  

If you want your audience to remember your message, there are several wonderful ingredients you can add to the mix.

Today let’s look at this one

… create an emotional connection. 

Maya Angelou is quoted as saying   “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

When you make an emotional connection, you open up the pathways in your audience’s brains that facilitate recall.  Whatever you associate with that emotion will be retained along with the emotion, in their memories. 

If you want to introduce a new way of thinking or doing for your audience to adopt, create an emotional connection.  Having already researched your audience, you should have some idea of what excites them, what they cry about, what their problems are.  And you can use that information to connect to their emotions.  Use examples that will push those buttons, appeal to what matters to them most. 

Tell stories that create an emotion.

Use words that heighten emotion. 

Use emotive verbs.  Rather than “she said” use “she screamed”, rather than “he went” use “he raced”.  Give your adjectives and adverbs the same treatment. 

You can watch your audience as you go, and get a feel for what moves them.

It is also a fact that while statistics and logic and facts and figures are useful in supporting a point, they will not have the power over your audience that emotion does.  People will make decisions (and give you their attention) based on emotions … and justify them afterwards with logic.

So create an emotional connection with your audience and mix it in and around your facts, statistics and testimonials to engage your audience, have them remember your message and be open to making changes in their lives. 

[Quick public speaking tip] 3 Ways that Listening is key if you are speaking to persuade

It’s not just speaking … when we speak to persuade.

Successful persuasion also lies in the ability to actively listen, even in the field of public speaking.

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Successful speaking to persuade relies on knowing your audience.

What are their needs and wants.

How are they thinking about your proposal.

What are they likely to favour about it?

What is going to stand in the way of them being persuaded?

What are their doubts?

What are their objections?

What are the obstacles to them moving forward with your suggestions?

Listen to them – before the presentation – survey them, talk to them, ask the event organiser about the – and listen.

Listen to them – during the presentation – ask them questions – and listen.

Successful speaking to persuade relies on seeing moments where you can gain agreement – maybe a comment or question from your audience, a situation from which you can draw an analogy, maybe a report back from a group discussion.

Listen for those and keep a line of thinking open that will allow you to use those moments to really amp up the energy of your speaking response.

Successful speaking to persuade relies on your being adaptable. It’s one of the lessons I teach in my workshops and seminars on PowerPoint. Be prepared to change the course or direction of your presentation. If it seems that your audience puts value on one point or discussion over another, or if the feedback, comments or discussion suggests that a different direction would wok best, then be prepared to change the structure of the presentation that you had prepared in advance.

This means that not only is your structure working for you. It also means that you are building trust. You care enough about your audience to change direction for them and you are confident enough in your material and your beliefs to change direction for them.

Listen, then to their comments, to their suggestions and the tone of their discussions.

So I have covered three areas of listening that will build the success of your persuasive speaking – knowing your audience, watching for opportunities to ramp up the energy and being adaptable.

Do you use any other listening techniques to successfully persuade?

[Quick public speaking tip] Why would your audiences want to do homework?

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Why would you give your audience homework?

How could homework be a gift?

~

Most school children hate homework, or at least see it as a chore.

Why do school children have homework?

I imagine there are many reasons, but one must be to solidify the learning done in school.

Because we learn by doing.

We reinforce theory with practice.

We multiply the learning by applying what we have learned to our own lives.

We take ownership of the learning when we implement it.

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We take ownership of the learning when we implement it.

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Spend time in the classroom or with an inspirational speaker, and we take in theory.

We take in enthusiasm, too, hopefully!

We take in the steps to success.

We take those “in”… at the time.

But how far “in” do they go as soon as we leave the classroom

… as soon as the speaker leaves the podium

… as soon as the lesson has ended?

How often have you listened to a motivational speaker, felt motivated … and then several weeks, or even days, later, if someone asked what you were doing differently now, could not remember what his message was or what you had felt so motivated to do????

Clever speakers give their audiences homework.

Caring speakers who really want their audiences to achieve or grow or benefit give their audiences the gift of homework.

They will learn by doing.

They will reinforce theory with practice.

They will multiply the learning by applying what they have learned to our own lives.

They will take ownership of the learning when they implement it.

So if you care about your audience, really want them to change, really want to be of service, what will you ask them to do when they get home after your presentation?

[Public Speaking Quotation] The success of your presentation

“The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives.”
— Lilly Walters

success_presentation

[Quick Public Speaking Tip] You – Me – The Public Speaking Power in Creating “Us”

The Public Speaking Power in Creating

Public Speaking is all about you, isn’t it?

You the speaker.

You creating a speech.

You delivering a speech.

You taking the audience on a journey.

You affecting the outcome.

You presenting stories, humour, information, ideas, products.

Me, the speaker.

Me, facing my fears.

Me, being confident.

Me, remembering the best words to use.

Me, creating energy in the room.

Me, finally achieving success as a speaker.

This blog is aimed at You (and if you are reading this, then it is about “me”).

I am writing and speaking to you, hoping to give you ideas and resources that will be of value to you as a speaker.

Strange, then, that the one sure foundation of success is the ability, once the presentation begins (or even in the marketing beforehand) to make it about us – all of us in the room, all of us on this journey to being better, living better, being and living more easily.

Not just the audience – the “you” to whom we speak – else we become preachers, philosophers, at least one step, if not a whole staircase removed, from that audience, that “you”.

We are all on this journey together, supporting each other.

How can we best ensure that, in our blogs, in our social media, in our speaking?

[Public Speaking Quotation] … for Sweet Benjamin

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“Imprison it”…? Hmm. My mother used to say to me “Put your words on the palm of your hand and look at them before you speak.” I liked that. Sweet Benjamin needs to guard against speaking without thinking.

If he’s going to be a speaker, he needs to consider his message and his audience before he speaks.

But “imprison” …? What do you think?

[Quick speaking tip] What was it they said?

Yesterday you heard a fabulous speaker – wonderful, inspiring, eloquent – with so much to share. You walked away buzzing, happy, enthusiastic and you remarked what a fantastic presenter they were.

That was yesterday. Today. What do you remember of that presentation, that fabulous, wonderful, inspiring, eloquent presentation?

Do you remember the next step that you were inspired to take? Are you feeling different about something? Have you changed your behaviour? What do you remember?

Do you remember the clothes they wore? Do you remember the joke they told, or just that they were funny?

Three weeks later. What do you remember?

Chances are it will be one thing – one idea, one word, maybe one graphic, or maybe the person’s style.

No matter how much information the speaker gave you, chances are, still, that you will not remember much more than that one thing.

smileyChances are also that it will have been attached to an emotion … happy, sad, euphoric, devastated, frustrated, angry … and that’s why you remembered it.

Where will you be adding or creating emotion next time you speak?