When You Should Avoid Being Declarative

Here’s a frequent mistake I hear speakers make:

Declarative statements that make assumptions about their audience.

The most common phrase I hear is…

“I know what you’re thinking.”

Why is this a mistake?

First, you may annoy some of the people in front of you. You don’t know with certainty what every person in front of you is thinking.

Second, you can seem arrogant making these types of statements.

Worse, you could trigger reactions in the listener like, “Who do you think you are telling me what I’m thinking?” Or, “You don’t know what I’m thinking!”

A Better Way

For years, we’ve suggested one minor change that gives more impact to these type of statements.

Add the words, “may be.”

This alters the sentence to:

“I know what you may be thinking.”

Structure it this way and you don’t come across as presumptuous, or a know-it-all.

The reaction more likely will be less intense, something like, “No, not really. I’m thinking…”

This will help you avoid creating a mental confrontation with your audience.

An Even Better Way

World champion speaker, Mark Brown, CSP, recently shared a more impactful way to do this:

Turn your statement into a question.

Imagine you’re listening to a speaker. She’s talking about using speeches to increase your number of new clients.

We know how the audience may react if she says, “I know what you’re thinking. “I’d love to double my number of clients.” Or, “I know you may be thinking you’d love to double your number of clients.”

What if she instead asked a question:

“How much impact would it have on your life if you doubled your number of clients?”

The question invites the audience to think about the implication of her idea to their lives. It engages their emotions.

It also increases the odds they’ll buy into her idea.

Want to have more impact on your audience?

Don’t declare it. Ask it.


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One Shift To Create Greater Audience Involvement. And More Impact For You ultima modifica: 2022-10-31T11:19:43-04:00 da Michael Davis