Speaking Success Barrier #1 — Attention Spans
According to research from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the average attention span of audiences has decreased 31% since 2000.
When we are giving speeches or presentations, this presents a problem in many ways. Audience member’s minds are more susceptible to distraction than ever before. It feels like technology has turned us all into dogs, susceptible to every “squirrel” that runs by us.
Barrier Buster Tip: Open your presentation with a BANG!
Avoid the mistake of most speakers, don’t start your talks with pleasantries (“thank you,” “it’s nice to be here,” or “Good morning!”).
There’s nothing wrong with being polite, but, you only have 8 seconds to convey to an audience you’re different and this won’t be like every other speech they’ve heard.
Your first words should be a question, a startling statement, a fact which contradicts common beliefs, or the beginning of a story. These types of openings shake your audience out of their routine mindset and focus attention on what you’re saying.
Speaking Success Barrier #2 — Mobile Devices
According to the website dailymail.co.uk, the average user picks up his/her phone over 1500 times a day.
Most speakers haven’t embraced the idea their audiences are addicted to their devices. They speak to them in a manner that is outdated, meaning they talk at people without creating dialogue or interaction.
Meanwhile, their audiences are looking at their devices or, so distracted by what they’re missing on their phones they’re not paying attention to the speaker.
Barrier Buster Tip: Engage Your Audience
In the years leading up to COVID, the best presenters recognized this change and changed their approach to match their audience’s needs. They didn’t lecture to audiences nor did they hide behind a series of PowerPoint slides.
Instead, they engaged their audiences. They did this through questions, polling, and group activities from start to finish.
Presenting in a virtual world has underscored the importance of this involvement even more. And it has given us many more tools with which to engage our listeners. Chat boxes, breakout rooms, and polls or just a few of the tools you now have at your disposal to create a connection with your audience.
Speaking Success Barrier #3 — Boring presentations
The term ZOOM fatigue became popular in 2020. And there is research showing the physical and emotional impact of staring at screens all day.
However, there is a bigger problem than “Screen Time.” Most presentations are boring. Too many speakers are still presenting their ideas in “reporter mode.”
This means they’re sharing facts and data without insight. This is a huge mistake because as you’ve already read, your audience has access to devices 24/7. They don’t need more information from you.
What they do need is your perspective about your topic. What is your experience with it?
What mistakes have you made?
What did you learn from those errors?
How are you better today because of your experiences?
Barrier Buster Tip: Tell Stories
The one asset you have that no other speaker can duplicate is your stories. When you make points and support them with the experiences you’ve had, you can leave a lasting impression on others.
When you share your challenges and how those impacted you, people are drawn in.
When you tell people how you learned a better way to address a problem and how that made your life better, they feel connected to you. You’re providing an answer to their problems.
Craft stories that address specific problems your audience is experiencing, and you will stand out from the crowd.
WOULD YOU LIKE HELP WITH YOUR STORIES?
The biggest challenge to writing your stories is you usually cannot see the power or the message because you’re too close to it. You lived the experience and you don’t see how it can impact others.
Even world-class speakers have coaches to help them see the gold in their stories.
If you’d like to talk with Michael about your story, schedule a 30-minute call to determine how he can help you.
Schedule your no-cost & no-obligation ZOOM call: https://bit.ly/CPR30Call