“95% of the people in an audience understand what's being communicated and agree with the speaker's point of view. However, they do not know how to apply what's being said to their lives.” (John Maxwell, “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect”)
Most speakers know how to deliver a great message. However many forget one key step: Giving their audience the tangible details to apply.
You need to take your audience from “Know How” to “Do Now”.
The acronym to use is for the word A.C.T.
A - APPLY
What can the audience apply from what you have just said. Think of techniques and tips, practices and processes, structures and systems. Think of going into a car dealership – we buy cars only after we have touched, felt, sat in, and even driven them. When you speak, give your listeners something real. Not just a lesson that is important, but a WAY to apply it.
C - CHANGE
Somewhere in your message should also be some evidence of a change. How the process has changed YOUR life, AND how it can change theirs.
When people hear you speak, they want what I call the Proof and the Pull.
The Proof: How did it work for you? What has changed in your life as a result of your solution? For example, don't just tell your audience that your life is SO much better now because you now set goals for yourself. Take this a step further by telling HOW your life is better. You may say “Now that I set daily goals, I wake up with purpose and passion.” or “Because I set my yearly goals, each month I have a clear and direct focus.” This is not boasting, it's proof that what you say works.
The Pull: After you tell people how YOUR life has changed, give them the RESULT of applying the change in THEIR lives. Tell them what will be better in their lives once they apply the change. Tell them how they will Feel. Tell them how others will See them. Tell them what they will be able to Have or Do as a result. Pull them in with the vision of THEIR improved lives.
T - TEACH
Finally, you teach your audience by taking the abstract, and getting finite and specific with it. Think of having a handful of sand, then pouring it out until you have just a few grains. Break down your message into manageable pieces for your audience. To continue with the above example, teach them HOW to set goals by advising them to take 3 major areas of their lives, setting a daily, weekly and/or monthly goal for that area, then writing it down. As a Speaker, you ARE a Teacher. Teachers break down the complex into the simple. Do that for your audience, and they will remember and implement what you teach.
Move people from “Know How” to “Do Now” and you will have a message that is memorable, and that sticks.
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.