The most important question in speaking is one you should ask yourself before you step in front of an audience:
“Why am I speaking?”
Is it to entertain? Inform? Inspire?
Each of these is valid, but the deeper reason for speaking to any group is to change the way they think, feel or act. If your message is not making the audience think, feel or act differently – not expanding their minds – why are you speaking to them?
It’s Easier Than You Think
Don’t be intimidated by this concept. Changing people’s thoughts or behaviors may be as simple. Maybe encouraging them to find a new way to drive to work so they can break up a monotonous routine.
Chances are the ideas you’re presenting are more important than altering driving routes, but it can be that simple. Your goal is to have the audience reflect on your message days, weeks or even years after you speak.
How Do You Make Your Talk Memorable?
To make sure your ideas ‘stick’, keep them simple. For example, if you want to teach a group about how to overcome nerves when speaking to an audience, stay focused on that theme. Don’t throw in ideas unrelated to that topic. People are more likely to accept and internalize your idea if it is simple and easy to remember three days later.
To further drive home your main point, use audience involvement. Have them repeat key phrases, write down important ideas, or break up into small groups for discussions.
In the example above, you could ask participants to write down thoughts they have before they walk on stage. Ask them to stand up and try exercises that alleviate nervousness. Encourage them to discuss ideas that have reduced anxiety. Audience involvement increases the odds of emotional ‘buy-in’ to your ideas.
A Message That’s Resonated for 10 Years
In 2006, heard a speaker who talked about selling. One statement he made still resonates with me. “The next time you feel intimidated or stressed about approaching a prospective client, just remember, you can’t lose what you’ve never had. Make the approach; the only thing you have to lose is time, and you just might create a new relationship that changes your life.”
Profound words that impact me nearly a decade later.
It’s unlikely that you or I will deliver a speech that changes the course of human history. However, each time you speak, you have an opportunity, as that speaker did in 2006. He ‘nudged’ people in a new direction which improved their lives.
Focus on one key idea you want your audience to walk away with and remember long after you leave the platform. When your audience remembers your message, you’ve fulfilled your mission as a speaker.
Say What?: How to Find the Best Topics for You.
World Champion and professional speaker Darren LaCroix, CSP teaches you how to uncover the best topics for you. Ostensibly, this book is geared toward individuals who wish to become paid speakers. However, he offers pearls of wisdom on how to uncover those ideas that audiences want to hear.
Darren is a long-time mentor and one of the best speaking coaches in the world.
Click here for additional details. After clicking that link, click the Online Store link. scroll down to the Improve Public Speaking link, click the link. Scroll down to DVD: “HOW TO” Improve Public Speaking and Presentation Skills, then click the Say What? How to Find Your Topic link.