Ever listened to a riveting story with a memorable message, but somehow felt frustrated or let down at the end?
There could be several reasons for this, but one of the most likely culprits was…
The Unanswered Question!
This is a problem that is more common than speakers realize.
What is ‘The Unanswered Question?’
It’s a question that is generated in the minds of your audience during your story, and that you don’t address before the end of your talk.
Why is this a problem?
Because when you leave questions unanswered, you might cause the audience to lose focus. You run the risk that they’ll miss your key points. If this occurs, they could feel frustration, irritation or even anger. They’ll definitely feel let down.
You might be thinking, ‘I’d never do that. My stories are always crystal clear.’
You might be right about that. If you’re sure, then you won’t mind asking others to answer one question:
“Is there anything about my story that you’re not sure about, that I’ve left unanswered?”
I recently got this idea from professional Bill Stainton when he spoke at the Kentucky chapter of the NSA. I’ve always been an advocate of recording your talks. I’ve been an even bigger advocate of actually listening to the recording.
Bill goes one step further. Send a copy to a friend or colleague. Ask that person the question mentioned above: ‘What questions have I left unanswered?’
The answers will surprise you.
In my speech ‘Cornfield Wisdom,’ I tell the story of proposing to my girlfriend Linda in a cornfield. The key point to the story is to be ready for unexpected opportunities.
It wasn’t until I asked the question about answered questions that I learned the audience was often distracted by the question: ‘How did you end up in a cornfield in the first place?’
I’d been so focused on the fact that this opportunity to propose in the cornfield popped up. I failed to give enough back-story as to why we were there in the first place. Once I added that piece to the story, it became much more satisfying, and the audience enjoyed it more.
As you craft your next tale, be willing to ask your audience if you’re leaving out vital information. Do this, and you won’t let them down – you’ll lift them up with a memorable story that keeps their attention from start-to-finish.
The book ‘Go Ahead and Laugh: A Serious Guide to Speaking With Humor’
What is the right type of humor to include in your speeches?
How do you include funny material without taking away from your message?
What if you’re not a naturally funny person, how do you make people laugh in a speech?
In ‘Go Ahead and Laugh, A Serious Guide to Speaking with Humor,’ presentation expert Rich Hopkins breaks down 11 speeches and helps you understand how to uncover the humor that exists in your stories. After reading this one-of-a-kind book, you will know…
– The difference between humor and jokes [there is a HUGE difference]
– How to use your stories to make audiences laugh
– Techniques to deliver your funniest material with maximum effect
– Using humorous self-deprecation to increase your likability
…and much more!
Once you’ve learned how to create more laughter within your speeches, you’ll find that, not only will your speeches improve, you will become a much more in-demand presenter.
To order, visit: http://speakingcpr.com/go-ahead-and-laugh/
© 2016, Michael Davis. All rights reserved.