(Even if you’re not a sport fan, please play along with this opening scene. It relates to speaking……..)
Picture the scene. It’s the last few minutes of the Super Bowl — THE biggest sporting event in America. There’s a tie score. The score has been close for the entire contest. People who were previously engaged in lively conversation now sit with their eyes transfixed on the game.
You can feel the growing tension as the seconds tick off, and the teams battle for the victory.
Why is there so much emotion tied to the result of a sporting event?
Before you answer consider this. It doesn’t have to be the Super Bowl. It could be a World Cup soccer match (to my friends outside the USA — I know, I know. Soccer IS football!) It might be the Olympics.
As a matter of fact, it doesn’t have to be a sporting event. It may be a movie, a political contest, a book. They can all create these strong feelings.
Humans Are Wired For Curiosity
Because the human brain loves a mystery.
Don’t you enjoy the tension of not knowing the outcome of an event or a story? This creates curiosity, and our brains are hard-wired for this emotion.
Consider an article on the HuffPost website on September 14, 2016. Authors Vivian Hemmelder and Tommy Blanchard point out that ‘when people are curious about the answers to trivia questions or watch a blurry picture become clear, reward-related structures in their brains are activated.’
How Can This Help Your Speaking?
What does this have to do with speaking?
When you give a presentation, you are competing for your listener’s attention. You’re up against countless sources of ‘noise.’
People are bombarded by commercials, mobile devices, TV, etc. all day long.
How do you to stand out?
How can you create the desire to hear your words?
Four Ways To Create Interest When Speaking
Open with a question. (“What would you do if half of your retirement account disappeared overnight?”)
A starting statement. (“Tom, come home! There’s been an accident!”
Powerful facts. (“According to some studies, the world will run out of oil by the year 2067!”)
A compelling story. (“Turning away from the light, I looked over at four people seated next to me. They were four of my speaking heroes — my mentors — and I was sharing the stage with them. I never could have predicted the road that led me to that stage…)
These can immediately create questions like:
‘I’ve never thought about that. What would I do?’
How does this apply to me?
How can that be?
How did he get himself into that situation?
When these types of questions enter the minds of your audience, you have their attention.
How to Ensure You’re Creating Interest
One of the most important questions you can ask yourself, or anyone evaluating you is:
Do I create curiosity in my talk?
Do you have question?
The second important question you must ask is:
“Do I answer all questions by the conclusion?
Creating curiosity and questions can set you apart from others. But, not answering them will also set you apart. People will think of you as a presenter who lets the audience down because you don’t complete the picture.
Ask your evaluators if you’ve satisfactorily answered all questions.
You may not be presenting to audiences as big as the Super Bowl, World Cup or Olympics. However, you can appeal to the human need to experience uncertainty. Craft presentations that compel people to sit up and take notice. Your more likely to keep their attention. And, you have a better chance of keep their interest to the end of your talk.
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Imagine Being Able To:
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– Develop Emotional Buy-In to Your Message
– Keep People on the Edge of Their Seats From Start-to-Finish
– Present a Foundational Concept That People Remember Long After You Talk With Them
– And Much More
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