How To Leave A Great Impression As A Speaker

We had just spent a full day of training. My students got to hear from a variety of speakers. I walked out of the conference hall and headed toward a group of them huddled up in the corner staring at their phones. “So…how were the speakers?” I asked.

Here are some of their responses…

They were great!
I feel better prepared for the year.
I was sort of sleepy.
I liked this one guy’s stories.
I felt like she knew what I was going through.

I tried to press them for more details, but in the end, what I mostly got were their impressions of the training time. Most of them agreed on which speakers offered the most meaningful presentations. They felt like the best presenters were those who engaged them and related to them in a more personal way.

Photo credit: squiddity of toronto

Photo credit: squiddity of toronto

Communicators…are you listening??

The age-old saying is still true today: People remember how you made them feel long after they’ve forgotten what you said.

Here’s another  way to say this: The impression you make will impact the information they take. (Tweet This)

Connect with their hearts and you’ll have a better chance of your message sticking. When you connect with people at an emotional level, you’ll find that their mind and intellect are more open to receive the content of your message.

Connecting also has to do with how you say it, as well as what you say. You will communicate more loudly through your nonverbal messages (your attitude, your confidence, your empathy, etc), than the messages that come out of your mouth.

Each of us sends messages everyday. It doesn’t have to be from the front of the stage or a classroom. We all communicate with other people. The problem is when we don’t know the difference between communicating and spewing our messages on deaf ears.

It’s so important to build a connection with people before we try to share the content of our message. It give our message a better chance of actually being heard.

The good news is that most of us already do this. We’ve made connections with co-workers and friends. We’ve already done the heavy lifting to establish a relationship with those around us. Our messages are heard and acted upon because we’ve built trust between us and our audience.

I used to think there were two things a great speaker or communicator had to consider: content and delivery. I could tell when a speaker had spent a lot more time on developing content and not enough time preparing his or her delivery. It didn’t matter how good the content was, if the speaker wasn’t able to deliver it in a way that the audience wanted to hear it, the content fell flat.

Now I realize at the heart of great “delivery” is the ability to connect with people. People want to trust that the one delivering the message:

– Speaks with integrity and authenticity
– Cares about them
– Can relate to them and where they’re at
– Tells people what’s in it for them
– Offers a solution to a problem they’re facing
– Inspires them to make a positive difference in their life and the world

So before you send that next email. Before you lead your next meeting. Before you stand on stage in front of an audience. Ask yourself this question: What have I done to make the people I’m communicating with feel more important than the message I’m sending?

Your comments keep the conversation going! How do you go about connecting with others? What stood out for you in this article?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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3 thoughts on “How To Leave A Great Impression As A Speaker

  1. Tim-

    I struggle with this quote: “When you connect with people at an emotional level, you’ll find that their mind and intellect are more open to receive the content of your message”. I agree that it is important to connect on an emotional level, but I fear that too many speakers ride the emotional highs of the audience too much, especially on spiritual topics. I think that if we focus on the emotion too much, we can lose out on the depth and importance included in the meat of the speech. Emotions are important, but too often they mask and override the truth that needs to be heard.

    • Great thoughts Elizabeth. I agree with you perception that a speaker can “ride the emotional highs.” I’ve seen it done many times. I would clarify that the emotional level is simply tied to feelings. We feel something in every encounter and every conversation. Too often, a speaker will just spout information without taking into consideration how people are feeling. The speaker doesn’t even seem human, or someone that a person can relate to. But the great speakers make you feel like you want to sit down to coffee with them. They resonate with an audience in their heart as well as their mind. That doesn’t mean they drive them to tears. It means the speaker does the hard work to help the audience see that she or he understands before they ask the audience to hear and understand their message.

      I always appreciate your insights. Thanks for making this post better by your comment.