How Long Have You Been Speaking?

People often approach me after I deliver a talk or presentation. They’ll ask me how long I’ve been speaking or where I learned to speak. The goofy part of me always wants to tell them the story of when I was around one year old and began to form words, then phrases, then sentences…you get it.

I know what they mean though. Because when I’m done presenting, people feel a certain way. They feel things like inspired, capable, motivated and encouraged. That, my friends, doesn’t happen by accident. Your speech or presentation will improve when you think beyond how to transfer information to them and consider how to connect emotionally with them.

You’ve probably heard the saying: “They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Carl Buehner

That statement should guide every presentation you give. We are forgetful people. If you read Daniel Pink’s latest book, When, you’ll better understand that we tend to selectively remember and most of our memories are tied to “moments” where we felt something strongly. When we deliver a message, we can’t assume we’ll naturally make people feel a certain way. We must intentionally plan for it.

When you’ve nailed the content of your message, move toward the emotional impact. Ask yourself the following:

  • How do I want them to feel?
  • What words and actions can I use to bring about that feeling? (these must agree!)

That’s intention. And most people stop there. But I’m going to give you the secret sauce to this whole thing:

  • How can I do this authentically and consistently?

That question is what separates the meaningful moments from simply trying to manipulate people. People can spot an imposter. Don’t use your platform to trick people for your own personal gain. Always speak from the intention of serving them.

You know the difference, right?

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