The Explosive Activity

 

Before you see exactly what an Explosive Activity is, take a look at how it benefits you. After all, it has the power to transform and even save average presentations and turn them into unforgettable experiences for your audience. 

 

Benefits of an Explosive Activity

  • Energizes your Audience (and you) while they learn
  • Gives you something to call back to which makes the lessons stick
  • Promotes discussion and fun with your audience
  • Makes your speech fly by fast for your audience
  • Reaches the kinesthetic, visual, and auditory learners so nobody misses out on your message
  • Provides the kind of mix that keeps your audience from being bored

 

What is an Explosive Activity?

 If you have followed my lessons at all, you know it’s important to anchor every point you make in your speech. You can anchor the point with an anecdote (story), an activity, an analogy, an acronym, a visual, or in countless other ways. However, the key is to use one anchor to make one point. Therefore you can use one activity (anchor) to make a single point. 

However, an Explosive Activity is different? Why? Because, instead of using it to make a single point, you use the one activity to make multiple points. Then, once you get your explosion of points, you drive each point home with its own anchor. 

  

Example of an Explosive Activity

For example, I have an activity in which I ask my audience members make triangles. They do this in groups of three. The first time they do the activity, most of them don’t do very well. Then I give them time to discuss the activity within their group and I have them do it again. They usually do very well the second time. After the activity, they uncover the following points that helped them improve the second time they did the activity.
  

Communication
Planning
Vision

  

Once they come up with this explosion of points, I then illustrate each point with its own anchor (usually a story). For example, I drive home the point about communication by telling a story about a miscommunication I had. 

When we finish with the communication point, I drive home the point about planning by telling a story as well. 

 

Calling Back to the Activity to make the points stick

As I tell these stories, I can also help drive each individual point home by calling back to the activity. For example, for the point about vision, I ask my audience, “Did you have any questions when I first asked you to make triangles?” 

Inevitably someone will say something like, “Yes. We didn’t know what kind of triangles you wanted or whether or not we should draw them or how big, or how many…” 

Then I ask, “So you didn’t know what the overall goal was?” 

They say, “Right!” 

I say, “And whose fault is that?” 

Everybody in the audience points to me. 

I say, “That’s right, it’s my fault. Why? Because I walked you through the activity blindly and expected you to follow. And unfortunately that’s what many leaders do. They ask you to perform tasks without even letting you in on what the overall vision is. And look how confused and reluctant you were to get started.”  

 

Now that I’ve called back to the activity that they experienced, I can then anchor the point about vision with a story. But the key is that they have both the activity and the story to relate to as they begin to digest the point.

  

 Meeting People where they are

Another reason why the explosive activity works so well is learning styles. As stated earlier, audience members learn best through one of these three types of learning styles: 

  • Kinesthetic (through experiencing something)
  • Visual (seeing something)
  • Auditory (hearing something)

 The problem with many speakers is they ignore the kinesthetic style. The explosive activity gives the audience an experience (through the activity) while they receive the message. However, I do not suggest using the activity by itself to drive home each of the points. You can do that for an activity that only anchors one point, but I wouldn’t do that for an activity that explodes multiple points. Instead, it’s very important to drive each point home with its own anchor after it has been uncovered through the activity. 

In other words, use the activity to spark the uncovering of the points and use your stories to anchor each point. 

 

The Process for Successfully using an Explosive Activity

 Step 1: Do an activity that makes several points. 

Step 2: Anchor each point with a story (or another anchor). 

Step 3: Keep calling back to the activity and the anchor (story) that run parallel to  each other while you make your points. 

 

Caveat:

Make sure you still give sufficient time to anchor and drive home each of your points. If you have my Create your Keynote Home-Study Course, you already know I recommend my 10:1 rule of thumb. In other words, for every 10 minutes you speak, you can make 1 point that you anchor and drive home with impact. Therefore, if you are speaking for 45 minutes, you should make a maximum of 4 major points. 

This Rule of Thumb really doesn’t change here. Therefore, if you use an Explosive Activity designed to uncover three major points, I suggest you allot at least 30 minutes to that section of your speech (10 minutes per uncovered point). That means you can use this Explosive Activity process for the majority of a 30-45 minute program or you can do as I do, which is to use it primarily as one section of a 90-minute speech. 

 

Final Thoughts

Regardless of how you use it, the Explosive Activity will keep your audience energized, touch all the learning styles, and help your audience have fun while they learn. That’s the kind of impact that will get you re-hired time and time again.

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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