“Your job when speaking is to unpack the future so the audience can feel it and deal with it today” ~ Thomas Winninger
If you’d been sitting in the audience Monday night at the NSA Kentucky chapter meeting, you’d have heard the words above from Thomas Winninger. He’s a Hall of Fame speaker and expert on market leadership.
His idea of ‘unpacking the future’ immediately resonated with me.
For years, I’ve promoted the idea that purpose of speaking is to change the way people think, feel or act – in other words, change their perspective.
What Thomas provided was a succinct follow-up to this idea – how to change their perspective.
When you paint the picture of a compelling future, your audience feels a sense of optimism, energy and hope. This is the ultimate benefit of what you provide when you give a presentation.
For example, as a speech coach, I can share the following story with a prospective client or an audience:
“My client Patti called me the night of her big speech. She said, “You won’t believe what happened, Michael! I got a standing ovation at the end of my speech. And that wasn’t the best part – when I finished, people came up and handed me checks and volunteered time to my foundation.”
I said, “Patti, that’s fantastic. That’s a better result than we expected.”
Patti replied, “Michael, I appreciate the work you did with me. I was so afraid of giving this speech when we first met. After what happened tonight I can’t wait to give it again.”
Notice the emotion that was used to connect the story to the emotions of the listener(s). It’s not as easy to pick up on Patti’s emotions when reading versus hearing her words. She was excited because she had been extremely nervous and uptight about giving this speech. With hard work and practice, she morphed into a speaker who encouraged an audience to donate time and money to her organization. Additionally, her outlook on speaking changed – she was eager to speak again. Quite a change from her original emotions.
That is the type of response my prospective clients seek. When they give presentations, they want their audiences to take action. By sharing Patti’s story, I am ‘unpacking the future’ with the picture of a desired outcome that my audiences want. They also hear the change in emotion Patti experienced from the time we met to the night of her speech – that is the change they seek.
‘Unpacking the future’ and painting a picture of a result that your audiences want will create curiosity and a desire in them to seek you out to help them make that picture come true for them.
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