Have you ever listened to a speaker and at some point started zoning out? You are not alone! If you are the speaker, this is one of the things you want to AVOID– having your audience disengage, tune you out, or worse – just walk out!
We live in an age of information saturation! The content you give your audience needs to be valuable, but not overwhelming. One of the biggest struggles I hear over and over from emerging speakers is about putting together a message . Just this week again, someone asked me,
“How do I take all the ideas in my head and put them into a message that is concise and compelling?”
His question reveals a common frustration so many speakers face. Perhaps you can relate to this struggle? Do you have a desire to share your experience or expertise with the world but don’t know how to pull it all together? Or maybe you just put it all in and don’t know where to stop. As a result, you end up running out of time when you speak! Sure, your audience may walk away feeling full – but are they so full they can’t move?
Do you spend hours, days or even weeks re-writing the content, and then second-guessing right up until the time you step onto the stage? Maybe, you also struggle with having so much content that often talk faster, or go overtime just to get out all the information. I remember, so vividly, a time when I was asked to speak and my time was cut in half from 60 minutes to 30 minutes because the previous speaker went overtime. (By the way- you don’t want to go over your time!) Being a new speaker, I did what most speakers would have done in that situation. I glued my eyes to my notes, spoke as fast as I could, and looked up only when my time was up. When I finally came up (for air) and looked at my audience, I realized that although I was successful at getting out all my information, I failed as a speaker. That day became a turning point for me, as I realized that speaking is not so much about giving information as it is about evoking transformation in the hearts and minds of your audience members. I knew that I missed the mark that day because I failed to do the most important thing during my message – I failed to connect with my audience.
A sure way to lose any audience is giving so much information that your audience doesn’t have time to process or digest it. It was not until many years after that painful experience that I learned that speaking is not about what the speaker has to give , but more about what the audience takes away!!
I wish I knew then what I know now. After much struggle and spending lots of money, I finally found a system that transformed the way I create messages and prepare for speaking engagements. As I worked with it and modified it, I felt like I hit the jackpot! Having this system helps me determine which content to keep and which content to leave out of a message. It also helps me to easily adapt my message to any audience, any time frame and even with short notice. Having such a system has significantly affected my speaking success and opened more opportunities than anything else. I wish I had this system when I first started public speaking.
Abraham Lincoln once said ” The best way to predict your future , is to create it.” What do you need to do today to start creating the future you dream about? What skills can you start developing today that will equip you to become a more dynamic speaker?
If you want to get a head start on your speaking success, and avoid losing your audience, check out the cheat sheet I created that outlines the 4 Biggest Mistakes that Emerging Speakers Make & How to Avoid Them.
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