DON’T USE YOUR SPEECH TO ALIENATE AUDIENCES WITH INFORMATION
When I was a young financial planner, I had a problem – I was insecure and lacked confidence in my abilities. As a result, I made a HUGE mistake – I focused on learning every possible fact about financial products, and ignored my relationship building skills.
When I met with prospective clients, I did what is commonly referred to as a ‘data dump.’ I‘d share everything I knew about our planning process, our products, and my background. These exciting talks typically lasted 2 to 3 hours.
I cringe as I write this just thinking about the pain I inflicted on those poor people.
The worst part of this story is that when very few people would hire me, I wondered ‘why?’
Clearly, I was clueless. I couldn’t see how my information-laden presentations were overwhelming people. They were drowning in data, and worse, I couldn’t see it.
Fortunately, I eventually discovered the error of my ways through professional speakers and speech coaches. They taught me several key ideas in how to present ideas in my speech without chasing away prospective clients.
One of the most impactful concepts came from Patricia Fripp. She taught me the idea of “Levels of Abstraction.” This is a very useful tool at the beginning of your presentation.
The essence of this is to match the level of your information with the learning style of your audience. Different personalities learn in different ways. It’s incumbent on us – the- to understand this, and adjust our presentations accordingly.
For instance, it’s no secret that analytical thinkers typically crave data. “I need information, information, and then, when you’re done, how about a side of more information?” could be their mantra.
Bottom-line, Type-A personalities are just the opposite. “Give me the big picture, and spare the details!’ They usually like a quick overview of the problem, and a synopsis of your solution.
Social people tend to be in between these two personality types, and are driven more by feelings. It’s not unusual for them to say things like, “I want to feel good when I hear someone speak.”
You might be thinking, “What if I’m talking to a room full of people and not sure what their learning styles are?”
Great question. I’m glad you asked.
I learned the solution to this problem years ago from a speaker named Dr. Roko Paskov. He taught a top-down approach to speaking with audiences of different personalities.
- Start with your overriding idea. This will appeal to the Type-A personalities. You can introduce your idea, such as, “In the next 45-minutes, you’ll walk away with 5 tools that you can immediately use to craft a speech that grabs attention, keeps interest, and compels people to act on your recommendations.
This sentence introduces the amount of time, number of points and the benefit that they will receive.
- You then introduce the emotional aspect. “These proven, repeatable processes will give you the ability to develop presentations that make you better known in your industry, open up new opportunities to attract more clients, shorten your sales cycle, make more money, and enjoy the selling process more.”
This sentence provides the emotional benefits to your talk.
- Now it’s time for the details. “You’ll learn how to create compelling characters. You’ll pick up ideas to create interesting circumstances with increasing conflict that captures audience attention. You’ll see how to create a cure scene which introduces your solution to the audience’s problem. You’ll then pick up the keys to showing the change in your characters, which is ultimately the benefit the people before you want. Finally, you’ll learn how to craft your walkaway message so that people easily remember your main point and become more inclined to take action.
That’s the quick way to craft an introduction to a talk that will touch most of the personality types in the audience.
Use this method, and you can avoid the ‘data-dump syndrome’ and greatly increase your odds of grabbing the attention of most audience members when you begin your presentation.
RECOMMENDED RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
‘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?
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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.
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