Fact: Speaking is about your audience.
Unfortunate Fact: Many speakers forget this fact.
The speaker that only thinks about themselves results in an audience that doesn't care what the speaker has to say. Many speakers talk about what they have done, but fewer speak about how the audience can benefit from the information shared. Don't make this mistake. Follow author John Maxwell's 4 step process to connecting with your audience, as opposed to just communicating with them.
Step 1: FEEL
While speaking, start by asking questions to your audience to check-in with their emotions. When you join the conversation that is ALREADY going on in the mind of your listener, you connect with them. You do this by asking questions as possible that your audience can relate to. For example, in one of my talks, I ask my audience if they can remember taking an exam or test in school. I go on to ask if they remember being nervous, knowing that everything was on the line. Then I go on to explain a situation when I was nervous, and how I overcame the situation. When the first question is asked, the listeners will remember the FEELING of being nervous, and when I explain my story, they will relate to it more because of the memories of their own story.
Step 2: FELT
Continue by sharing your story, and how the problem came before the process or solution. Go deeper into how you felt when you had to overcome, and what your life was before you conquered the challenge.
Step 3: FOUND
This step is where you share the revelation. What was your pivot situation or solution that turned things around for you? Why was this a breakthrough? Who or what taught you the answer to your problem?
Step 4: FIND
Here is where some speakers miss the mark. The lesson is the link between the issue that you faced and the instructions the audience should implement. Tell the listeners what their next step should be and what they will find when they take it. It is not enough to say follow your dreams and goals. People do not normally act until you show them why. Go deeper again and tell your audience what to do, and what they'll find when they do it. For example, the next step could be to write down 5 goals they have, and that they will find that writing their goals down will help them to stay focused on achieving them because they are now crystal clear.
Take your listeners through this 4 step process when you speak. You will also highly benefit by reading John Maxwell's book, “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect.”
Kwesi Millington helps speakers 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.