If you turn to Chapter 7 of John Maxwell's book, “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth”, you'll pick up a key secret to life.
He calls it “The Law of Design”.
It could also be the law for speaking.
Maxwell states that in order to maximize growth, the key is to develop strategies. In other words, develop systems for doing things. I resonated with this chapter because I also have systems for everything. Processes that I follow for almost everything. When I get up in the morning, I have a system for starting my day. When I go to the gym, I have a planned system for the workout that I will do. When I write a speech, I have a system of steps and questions that I answer before the story is finalized. This may seem rigorous, but it helps me to stay productive and accomplish my goals.
Perhaps there are some that are too systemized. Maybe I'm one of them. However, there are far more people that simply don't have enough systemization in their lives. Systems lead to success. In life, and in speaking.
I encourage you to develop your own systems for your speeches. In the meantime, here's a system of 3 questions that you can use as a checklist to ensure that your message is heard by and resonates with your audience.
Question #1 – Can it be received personally?
Every speaker wants their message to be accepted and acted upon. How do you do that when you speak? Make sure it passes the following three tests:
Test A – The Implication Test
Your message should have a profound implication for your listener's life. If you have a message that can create a lasting change should your audience use it, then you're on the right track.
Test B – The Internalization Test
Your message should be delivered in a way that your audience can internalize the lesson. Simply stated, they should feel that the message is personal to their lives and that there is something specific in their own experience that they can apply your lesson to. One way to do this simply is to ask you focused questions that put the listener in their own life story, as you are sharing yours.
Test C – The Impact Test
Finally, there should be a “transformational challenge” for your listener. Can you push them into an area of their life that they may not want to go, yet give them a clear path on how to get where they want to be? If they feel a need to act on what you say right away, then they will receive your message and be much more likely to take action.
Question #2 – Can it be repeated easily?
Simplicity is the word here. What do you want them to do? How can they act upon your message? And most importantly, can it be stated simply.
If the entire idea of your speech – your main message – can be passed on to someone else after only a short encounter, then it will be remembered, repeated, and heeded.
Question #3 – Can it be transferred strategically?
Finally, people like systems. They may not admit it, but they DO like to be told what to do. My background is in policing, and as much as I've had people say all sorts of unrepeatable things to me when I have done my job, I know that deep down, people like order, systems and easily understandable, clear-cut directions on how to live their lives.
When you speak, remember this as well. Ask yourself – can my message be broken down into a simple step or series of steps for implementation? Can someone act on my lesson as soon as I've stepped off of the stage? And even better, can they teach what they've learned from my speech to others after they use it themselves? That creates a “viral message” that people repeat forever. And as a speaker, you will be called upon again and again if you give people “wins” based on your words.
A targeted, transferable message is gold.
Use this 3 question “Law of Design” format when you share a message, to become a speaker who doesn't just speak, but who serves the world with life-changing words.
SPEAK. SHARE. SERVE
Kwesi Sekou Millington
Communication & Confidence Coach
Certified Speaking & Storytelling Coach
Kwesi Millington helps speakers, presenters and youth to connect with their audiences and master their messages using the power of storytelling in their speeches & presentations. He is a Certified Public Speaking Coach & Youth Mentor.