” Speeches are like steer horns. a point here, a point there, and a lot of bull in between”. Alfred E. Neuman
Exceptional communicators meet or anticipate audience needs. They meet or exceed expectations period. Exceptional presenters gather information on the audience before or during the presentation by asking questions. Their goal is to share relevant information and move the audience to think differently and to something with the new information. So exceptional presenters are aware that before an audience member can agree and use the information and insights being presented…they have to understand you and connect with your message. This is no time to use jargon or overwhelm them with your expertise. To influence you must speak to the them directly and clearly in commonly understood vocabulary.
So what are the five power sources that provide you with the ability to influence your listening audience:
1. Use classic structure for designing your speech so it is easy to follow and understand. Such as, parallel structuring–problem/solution, features /benefits, and compare and contrast formats.
2. In the first 8 Seconds–grab their attention and curiosity by surprising them with an engaging story, a powerful and relevant quote or a little known statistic or fact
3. Set a positive, safe and comfortable learning environment by listening to their ideas or experience about the topic to be covered by the presentation. For example if you are presenting on what it takes to be an excellent speaker. Ask the audience when was the last time a speaker captured their attention and motivated them to do something different in their life? Ask them to turn to their neighbor and share their experience and be ready to report what characteristics made it a memorable experience rather than a yawner?
4. Early in the opening of the speech make the audience feel important (MMFI) principle of engagement by paying attention to their comments or sharing some insight you gather during the “meet and greet” time before the speech or in an observation you made during the last speech. This shows respect and the ability to want to connect with them and their interest.
5. Get to the Point and Message of your speech within 90 seconds of starting. Repeat the message often and close by seeing if they got it.