Avoid Being Worthless to Your Audience (3 Tools)

Audience in Bankstown, Australia

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. I may have been one of them in the past. However, 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.


2.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 sees you as special, what do you think they begin to think?

They probably think, “Of course those strategies work for him because he’s special. They won’t work for me.”

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 Impact Tools that will not only get you connected with your audience but will also spark them to act on your message. In other words, you will be valuable to your audience.

Audience Impact Tool 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 at least interested in learning more about it.”

This gets your audience a little closer to taking 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 Impact Tool number 2 will take your audience’s confidence in your process to another level.

Audience Impact Tool 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 3-step formula was used by the great orators of the past and the present. Everyone from Aristotle to Anthony Robbins has used these 3 steps.”

Why Quantify the Process?

The reason you should quantify your process is because specifics build credibility. Your process goes from being a loose intangible mess to a tight proven step by step 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 for 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 Audience Impact Tool Number 3 comes in handy.

Audience Impact Tool Number 3 – Share Your Four Fs 

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 special. One step you can easily take is to break yourself down so your audience members know you are closer to them than you are to, say, Zeus.

For example, I regularly tell people the low score I received the first time I took the SATs (Standardized Achievement Tests we use in many States in the US). What do you think happens inside of the minds of my audience members? Chances are they think, “Well, if he can be successful with his background, I can definitely be successful at this too. Give me that process.”

Neither Les Brown nor Anthony Robbins has a college degree and they play that up for all it’s worth. It helps their audience members know that it’s their processes, formulas, and mindsets, not their special unmatched innate abilities, that have made the difference. This helps audience members feel hopeful.

But I Haven’t Climbed Mount Everest!

So often speakers complain to me, “Craig, I haven’t climbed Mount Everest or done anything like that so why would people want to hear from me?”

So what? So you haven’t climbed Mt. Everest. Has your audience? Chances are nobody in your audience has climbed Mt. Everest so how would they relate to that? Here’s my question. Have you ever been fired? Have you ever had a really bad day? Have you ever been embarrased? Your audience will relate to these situations much more than they will to Mt. Everest. And if you offer a road from where you were then to where you are today, they’ll likely take it. Why? Because they feel similar.

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…

  1. Failures
  2. Flaws
  3. Frustrations
  4. Firsts

If you do this, you will connect fast and deep. Let’s take sharing your firsts as an example. Many times your audience members tend to see you where you currently are and think, “I’ll never get there.” However, if you share where you were at first (i.e. failing in speeches, etc.), they will realize that if they take hold of your processes, they can have the same (or even greater) success than you.

As I always say…

Let your long road lead to their shortcut

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 you uncovering the process that worked for you (or for your customers) and will work for others. Your story becomes the proof that they can use the process too.

People want the truth wrapped up in proof

The 3 Audience Impact Tools

  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 do you do to put the process, not the person, on a pedestal?


Next step?

There is a definite process for telling stories that put the process, not the person, on a pedestal. If you tell stories in the most effective way, you will automatically become valuable to your audience and connect with them deeply. Learn the 9 Cs in my Storytelling Home-Study Course for Speakers at http://www.edgeoftheirseats.com

Craig Valentine

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