How do you connect with an audience when you don’t seem to have anything in common with them?
I was reminded of this question a few months ago when I was invited to Tampa, Florida to do some work with one of my past clients, retired Green Beret Lieutenant Colonel Scott Man.
Since retiring from the military, Scott’s mission is to help returning veterans get re-acclimated to civilian life. This is a big challenge for a lot of our veterans. They leave the disciplined structure of military to a seemingly foreign civilian world. An that is tough.
That doesn’t include the experiences of combat many have to deal with.
How to create a bond when you have different backgrounds
I was requested to attend this event so I could help these soldiers develop their stories. Aside from Colonel Mann, I hadn’t done much work with retired military. Would I be able to relate to them.
This feeling was put to rest when I heard the story of a wounded soldier. He talked about “a sunny day in Fallujah, Iraq. I was on patrol, driving a Humvee over a bridge. With no warning, an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) was set off.
“The next thing I knew, I was upside down in the Hummer, in almost pitch black, with only a sliver of sunlight shining through. My first thought was, ‘Am I dying?’ I had no idea what was happening or how I’d get out of there.“
In that moment, he connected with me.
I’ve never been in the military. Never driven a humvee in Iraq. And I’ve never driven over a car bomb.
Why we connected
The reason he bonded with me is because four years earlier, I was lying in bed, struggling to breath so badly that I couldn’t speak. The question, “Am I gonna die?’ flashed into my thoughts. I was scared and had no idea what was going on.
I felt like that soldier was talking to me. On the surface, we had nothing in common. But we shared a 5-second experience that is intensely emotional. It was in those few seconds that he and I connected.
YOUR story has that same power
Your story doesn’t need to be relatable on the surface. That’s not where the bond is created. It occurs in that intensely emotional moments that expose our humanity. It can be a question like, “Am I dying?”
Or the indescribable joy of holding your newborn child for the first time.
Or the regret of missed opportunities.
It’s those those feelings that transform stories into meaningful and memorable experiences that leave lasting impressions. These will draw people into our journey and connect them with theirs. That’s how our stories tear down the walls of distrust and make them willing to hear what we have to say.
This is how you connect with ANY audience, no matter what their background.
New Home-study Course – ‘Stand Up. Speak Up. Stand OUT!’
I’m about to release my new Home-study course – “Stand Up. Speak Up. Stand OUT!”
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