3 Speaking Tools to Avoid Being Worthless to Your Audience

Speaking to the students at Meiji University in Tokyo, Japan

Speaking to the students at Meiji University in Tokyo, Japan

 

When you build yourself up, you let your audience down. 

Let’s face it; there are some speakers who use the platform to stroke their ego. When we talk about how great we are and speak only of our successes, our audience members think of us in 1 of 2 ways:

 

  1. “Wow, he sure is full of himself.”

or

  1. “Well, I guess he’s just special.”

As a speaker, being considered special is just as bad as being considered full of yourself. When your audience thinks you are special, they begin to think “Of course that strategy works for him because he’s special. He’s a genius.”

They have a built-in excuse not to use your advice and, consequently, you become worthless to that audience. You can avoid this by using the following 3 Audience Connection Tools that will not only get you connected with your audience but will also spark them to act on your message.

 

Audience Connection Tool (ACT) Number 1:

Put the process, not the person, on a pedestal. In other words, don’t brag about yourself, brag about the process (or formula, recipe, toolkit, etc.) you have uncovered in your life’s journey. When you do this, the audience members think, “I am interested in learning more about this process. I don’t know if it really works, but I’m interested in learning more about it.”

This gets your audience a little closer to taking an action on your message, because you’ve succeeded in building interest in your process rather than in you. However, there are still two major obstacles. Although they are interested in your process, they still aren’t sure if it really works. Your story should begin to prove to them that the process works, but Audience Connection Tool number 2 will take that credibility to another level.

 

Audience Connection Tool (ACT) Number 2

Quantify your process. For example, in the midst of your story or activity, you might say, “I came across these tools that I now refer to as the 4 Rs to Remarkable Results that you can use to make change work for you instead of against you.” Or you might say, “This 4-step formula was used by the great orators of the past and the present. Everyone from Aristotle to Anthony Robbins has used these 4 steps.”

The reason you should quantify your process is because, as Patricia Fripp says, “Specificity  builds credibility.” Your process goes from being a loose intangible to a tight proven system.

It also naturally builds the curiosity for your audience members to think, “I want to hear all 4 steps. Come on, what’s step 1?” In this way, quantifying your process not only builds credibility in that process, but it also teases your audience to want to know more. As a result, they will buy-into the fact that the process worked for you. However, they still might not think it will work for them. That’s where tool number 3 comes in handy.

 

Audience Connection Tool (ACT) Number 3

If you want your audience members to act on your message, you must help them feel like you (or the main characters in your story) are similar to them. Think similar, not separate. One strategy you can easily use is to break yourself down so your audience members know you are closer to them then you are to, say, Zeus.

For example, I regularly tell people the low score I received the first time I took the SATs. What do you think happens inside of the minds of my audience members? Chances are they think, “Well, if he can be successful at this, I can definitely be successful at this too. Let me listen up for what process he used to get from A to B.”

Many average speakers won’t allow themselves to share their failures or open up to an audience in this way. However, the quickest way to build a connection with your audience is to share your failures, flaws, frustrations, and firsts (not all of your first, of course). If you do this, you will connect fast and deep.

Final thoughts

Remember, your job as a speaker is usually to sell people on the results they will get when they utilize a certain formula, process, tool, or recipe. It has nothing to do with you being a genius, it has everything to do with finding the process that worked for you (or for your customers) and will work for others. Your story is simply the proof that they can use the process too. Remember to

  1. Put the process, not the person, on a pedestal
  2. Quantify your process
  3. Share your failures, flaws, frustrations, and firsts

 

Your Turn

What is one way you make yourself similar (rather than special) to your audience?

 

 

 

 

Craig Valentine

As a motivational speaker I've been fortunate to have spoken in over 20 countries, and back in 1999 Toastmasters International awarded me the World Champion of Public Speaking.

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