People often ask me, “Craig, how do you connect with your audience?” I always tell them, “The quickest way to connect with your audience is by using the 4 F-words in speaking. They will help you connect with your audience and make them laugh. Listen to the following audio to pick up the first F-word
The quickest way to connect with your audience is to share your failures. Why? Because everyone has failed at something and sharing your failures gets them to relate to you. Plus, so many speakers usually talk about success after success after success which makes the audience feel they are egotistical and special. You don’t want to come across as special. You want to come across as similar (similar to your audience).
Important note: By the way, I don’t consider being heavy as a failure. However, I do consider this a failure story simply because I didn’t recognize how much weight I had gained until he helped me face that reality. Before that, I had failed to face reality.
Think of some of your greatest failures and consider sharing them.
Here are two more examples of failures I share.
Dictionary.com defines a flaw as “a feature that mars the perfection of something.” When you share something about you that is less than perfect, this help you relate because most people don’t feel they are perfect either. Do you see a pattern here? Whenever you can tap into what most people feel about themselves, you will connect deeper with them.
One flaw I have shared over the past 21 years of speaking is that, when I was around 10 years old, I spoke with a lisp that was so bad that a father of one of my friends referred to me as “Daffy duck.” People in my audience might not have had a speech impediment but they’ve surely had a flaw pointed out by someone before so this helps them relate to me.
Too often speakers only share solutions but I believe it’s important to share the frustration you had before the solutions. Why? Because THAT’S what makes them want the solution. Plus, they usually relate to your frustration as well. Here’s an example of what happened after I bombed in a speaking engagement.
My friend and fellow speaker, Darren LaCroix, actually shows his audience a video of his first time on stage back when he was pursuing comedy as a career. It’s an unforgettable video in which he bombed. Darren’s willingness to share this makes his audience feel, “Well if he turned himself from that into the World Champion of Public Speaking, there’s a chance for me to do something great too.” The other effect it has it that it gets the audience to root for him as he shares some of his successes too.
Can you share the first time you attempted something?
In addition to connecting deeper with your audience, there is one final result you are likely to discover as you share your failures, flaws, frustrations and firsts. You’ll find the funny. That’s right. You’ll uncover more and more humor in your stories and speeches. Why? Because failures, flaws, frustrations, and firsts are funny when they’re not happening to you (the audience member).
What failures, flaws, frustrations, or firsts have you shared with your audience and what kind of connection did you feel as a result?
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