March, 2011

"United We Stand, Divided We Fall"

Quotations of the Month

"Emotion is the fast lane to the brain."
D. Stevenson, speaker, author, trainer
"Turn everything about you and make it all about and for them."
C. Valentine, 1999 WCPS

United We Stand

Opening: I'm sure you use stories when speaking but are they all about you and never audience focused? That's when you may throw your hands up in the air and in frustration, say: "But they're MY stories, how can I make them for and about the audience?"

Promise: If you follow the tips below, I guarantee that you will be united with your audience, since you'll be likeable, conversational, and stand well above the average speaker. You will avoid being the speaker who makes speeches all about himself/herself, resulting in the audience thinking: 'So what! Who cares? What's in it for ME?'

Roadmap: Because audiences are selfish and rightly so, as they want to know what's in it for them, adhering to these tips will help you unite, bond or connect with them and create change in their thoughts and actions. After all, isn't that why we create change?

General Tip on Uniting/Bonding/Connecting

Tell an "I" ( speaker) focused story with a"YOU" (audience) focused message... never tell a story unless you have a point relating to their take away message. It may be YOUR story but you must turn it around to make it about and for them.

How do you do this?
  1. Tap into their minds with a question at the start; then transport them to where you want them to go with your stories; touch base with them periodically throughout the story with reflection questions. i.e. Can you relate to that? If something like that might happen to you, how would you react? Don't you sometimes get frustrated when...?
  2. Be conversational – talk "with" them, not "at" them...inserting appropriate questions or statements at timely moments will help you with this i.e. It's likely we may have all experienced that....Did you ever feel that way?
  3. Use the word YOU, not how many of you in your touching base times
  4. Invite them into your scenes i.e. If you had seen me in 1998, you would've seen...I wish you could've been there when we... If you're a parent, you know what happens when you...
    When you create a scene, commit to it; don't walk all over that scene in another story; use another part of the stage for another scene
  5. Make yourself similar to them, not special i.e If you grew up in a foreign country as I did, you know how... When we were teenagers, remember the times when...
  6. Use self effacing humour – people love to hear about your F's – your flaws, firsts, failures, fears...all people can relate to them

Important questions you ask yourself in the pre-writing stages of your speech are:
  • What do I want my audience to think, feel, say, or do AFTER I finish speaking? (ie. what is the lesson they will learn to enhance their life?)
  • Which personal story/ies should I use to best emphasize my message/point? Which stories demonstrate a universal emotion?

After writing check your script

Check the number of times the words "I" and "YOU" are used. There should be far more of the latter than the former. You will be assured that your stories "YOU" focused. While the story may be your experience, the message is for them. Itís not about I, the speaker, but YOU, the audience.

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Join us next month when we discuss the letter "V" as it relates to another speaking skill.

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