One Of The Deadliest Mistakes You Can Make As A Speaker Is…

Connecting with my audience at a conference in Colorado

One of the deadliest mistakes you can make as a speaker is lifting yourself above your audience. Why is it deadly? Because it kills your connection with your audience.

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

Similar, Not Special

As a speaker, you want to come across as similar, not special. If you come across as special, your audience members will likely think the following:

“Of course his strategies work for him. He’s special. But they won’t work for someone like me.” As a result, they won’t act on your message.

However, when you come across as similar, they’ll likely think, “If those strategies worked for her, they’ll work for me.” And they’ll likely act on your message. That’s what we want.

2 Quick Ways To Remind Them That You Are Similar

There are several ways to remind your audience that you are similar to them including sharing your failures, flaws, frustrations, and firsts. However, there are a few quick ways to remind them as well. Here are 2 of them.

You can use phrases like “Me too” or “I have as well” or “Same here.” Take a look at this quick example:

Another way to stay similar to your audience is to use what I like to call “Seen it? Done it?” Look at the following quick example:

How does this keep you similar? It lets them know that they are not alone and that most of us have made the same mistake. It works best when I say, “Have you seen it? Have you done it? Me too. In fact…”

You can also use “Seen it? Been it?” For example, I often say, “Raise your hand if you know any negative people. Okay, now raise your hand if you ARE a negative person.” Both of these get laughs and I can follow that up by saying, “I’ve been negative at times as well.”

Those are a couple of ways to quickly remind your audience that you are similar to them. When they understand that you are similar, they’ll also think, “Well, he must have a special process. I want to get my hands on that process.” As  a speaker, here’s what you want to do.

Put the process, not the person, on a pedestal.”


While we’re on the subject of connecting with your audience, here’s another tip. This doesn’t have to do with being similar. Instead it has to do with connecting through curiosity.

Make your audience curious by taking your time between your lines. That’s where the story lives. Don’t rush to get to your next line. Instead, find ways to milk the line you just gave. In several of my stories, the majority of the laughs come from the looks rather than the lines. However, you have to give yourself space for that. Always remember this:

You can’t rush and resonate.

Take a look at this story but pay close attention to the spaces and faces between the lines.

Craig Valentine

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