2 Public Speaking Tools to Get Your Audience to Take Action

Average speakers give speeches that get a good response, but exceptional speakers give speeches that move their audiences to take action. Here are 2 tools you can use to get your audience to take action:

1. Say “Most People”

“Most people live their lives on get set. They take their marks, get ready, get set, and then never go. Unfortunately most people die on get set and they take their dreams, ideas, innovations, and inventions to the grave with them.” Those are a couple of lines I have used in one of my keynotes for many years and they usually resonate deeply with my audiences. Why? This is because of one very important understanding we must have as speakers:

“Most people do not want to be most people”

The words “most people” are extremely influential because, if used correctly, they immediately create a comparison between something the audience does not want be (or have) to something they do want to be (or have). For example, once they get the message about “most people living on get set,” they immediately want to avoid being placed in that category.

Compare and Contrast

One of the greatest ways to get people to take action is to use the compare and contrast method in many different ways. For example, for years Zig Ziglar has compared being a “wandering generality” to being a “meaningful specific.” Once we realize that most people are wandering generalities, we immediately desire to become a meaningful specific. This method works so well because it simultaneously moves us away from what we do not want (wandering generality) and moves us towards what we do want (meaningful specific). This method pushes and pulls you at the same time and gets you to take action.

In your next speech, what two things can you compare and contrast so that you move your audience away from one and towards the other?

2. Put the Process, Not the Person, on a Pedestal

Did you take the SAT? Did you know anyone who got close to an 800 on the math portion or an 800 on the reading comprehension portion of the SAT? Well I got a 730 on, well, the entire SAT! You read that correctly, I got a 730 the first time and an 890 the second time. Counselors said, “Craig, that is not very good. You might not do that well in college.” Actually, I went on to win the Top Scholar Athlete for my University and made the All-Academic Team for the entire East Coast.

Why do I share my SAT score with my audiences? It is because I know the quickest way to connect with your audience is to share your failures and flaws. When speakers share success after success, what do their audience members begin to think? They think, “Well of course these tools work for him, he is just special. These tools will not work for a normal person like me though.” They then cast off the tools and your message.

Never Be Special

The very last thing you ever want your audience to think is that you are special. The very first thing you want them to think is that you are similar. In other words, you are similar to them. You do that by sharing your failures and flaws.

When I share my poor SAT score, guess what my audience begins to think? First they take me off of any intellectual pedestal they might have put me on. Then they think, “Well if these tools worked for him, they will surely work for me.” That is exactly what I want them to think because then they will take action. As a speaker, your job is to put the process, not the person, on a pedestal. Highlight that what your audience is getting is a special process from a similar person that will lead to special results. You are simply the proof of the process.

Final Thoughts:

When you say “most people” and you put the process, not the person, on a pedestal, your audience members will act on your message and contact you months and years down the line to explain the impact you have had on their lives. That’s a wonderful feeling. Use these exceptional tools to set yourself apart as a presenter. “Most people” won’t.

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Craig Valentine is the author of two books entitled World Class Speaking and The Nuts and Bolts of Public Speaking. He is the 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking and an internationally-known professional speaker. To get your FREE Masterful Speaking Toolkit, visit http://www.craigvalentine.com/

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