When Speaking, Are You Treating Your Audience Like a Buffet?
My favorite is Chinese. If you’re like me, you eat at a restaurant like this with the best of intentions. “I’ll just grab a plate of food, and then I’ll be on my way.”
You might pick out some shrimp, orange chicken, lo mein, and fried rice. Because the food is so good, you might eat a little too fast. Your stomach doesn’t get to tell your brain that you’ve had enough.
So what do you do?
You go back up and fill your plate a second time. At some point, you justify your decision. You think “Well, you know, this is costing me $12.95. I’m going to get my moneys worth out of this.” So, you go up a third time.
45 minutes later, you sit back and think “Oh no, I ate a little too much (enough to feed a Third World country).” You follow that up with the phrase “I’m never doing that again.”
How did you feel afterwards?
What does this have to do with speaking?
Have you ever listened to a speaker who gave you so much information that you felt stuffed?
Could you remember the key points of the speech?
How did you feel afterwards?
Like that person at the buffet.
A more important question is, “Have you ever left an audience feeling overstuffed?”
If you haven’t, you’re not speaking enough. Every speaker has, at some point, left an audience with too much information. The best speakers learn that this is not a good strategy.
Why else should you not give them too much information?
The biggest reason is they won’t remember your main point. This is not good, if you want to leave a lasting impact.
How do you avoid overloading the people listening to you?
A Rule Your Audience Will Love
A rule of thumb that we suggest is the 10:1 Rule.
For every 10 minutes of speaking time, give only one supporting point for your foundational concept.
For example, imagine you’re giving a 30 minute speech. 30 divided by 10 gives you three points (at most) to support your theme. Keep in mind that you have to open and conclude your speech. Three is the most you want to use.
The thought of just giving only a couple of supporting ideas makes some speakers nervous. They don’t understand the ‘Buffet Concept.’
Create a Desire For Them to Hear More
Too many speakers make the mistake of giving an audience everything they know in one speech. Aside from leaving the audience feeing stuffed, you’re hurting yourself. You’re taking away any reason for that group to ask you back to speak.
Because you’ve given them all you have.
If you’re interested in speaking to a group more than once, stop over-stuffing them. Give them two or three good ideas each time you present. Then tease them with the idea that there’s more if they invite you back. You’ll know right away if they want you.
If your goal is to be a paid speaker, this is an excellent way to do it. This creates repeat business, and word-of-mouth.
If you want to stand out, stop stuffing your audience. Follow the 10: 1 Rule. Give your audience enough content that can change the way they Think. Feel or Act. Then tease them with the promise that there’s more, if they invite you back. You’ll develop a reputation as a speaker who provides a powerful message. And you’ll asked back time and time again.
The free video series ‘7 Keys to Be a Successful Public Speaker.’
In these videos, you’ll pick up 7 key tools to develop speeches that grab the attention of your audience, keep their interest, and compel them to act on your message.
Put these seven keys into place, and you’ll craft messages that impact audiences for years to come.
To register for the series, click here.