Average speakers give speeches that get a good response, but exceptional speakers give speeches that move their audiences to take action. Exceptional speakers help change lives long after they have finished speaking. That is why exceptional speakers get rehired time and time again. How do speakers become exceptional? They learn the tools necessary to prompt their audience members to go beyond listening and to take action. Here are 3 tools to help you do just that:
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.
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. Scan back up and read the very first sentence of this blog post and you will see another example of the compare and contrast at work.
Question for you… In your next speech, what two things can you compare and contrast?
FYI – Here is a quick advanced tool for you. When you compare two things, split the stage floor in two. Whenever you talk about the unwanted thing, either stand or point to your right (the audience’s left) side. That side represents the past. When you speak of the wanted thing (i.e. meaningful specific), stand or point to your left side of the stage (audience’s right side) because that side represents the future on the timeline. Of course we want good things for our future. Splitting the stage makes this message even clearer for your audience.
2. Put the Process, Not the Person, on a Pedestal
Did you take the SAT? If you’re not from the USA, this is the test students take in an attempt to get accepted into colleges. When I was growing up, the highest possible score was a 1600. Think back. 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 the University and made the All-Academic Team for the entire East Coast.
The question is, why do I share my SAT score with my audiences? It is because I know that the quickest way to connect with your audience is to share your failures and flaws. Think about it. 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. I do not think these same tools will work for me.” They then cast off the tools and the message. 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 of all they take me off of any intellectual pedestal they might have put me on. Then they think, “Well if these tools work 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. Show that what they are getting is a special process from a similar person that can lead to special results. Your success is simply the proof of the process.
3. Use the EDGE Formula
When you want your audience members to take action, it is important to understand that individuals are motivated by a variety of desired results. Some are motivated by making money. However, if you design an entire program around just making money, and you neglect the other results such as less stress, more time on their hands, and the ability to get more done, then you will only motivate a small fraction of your audience. This is why I use the EDGE Checklist with every presentation. When giving at least a 30 minute presentation, I make sure my audience knows that they can achieve results that help them do the following:
E = Esteem more.
In other words, they will get recognized, gain attention, feel more confident, radiate, become known as a great leader, etc.
D = Do more.
For example, they will be able to generate more leads in one hour than most entrepreneurs can do in one day.
G = Gain more.
This means they will either gain more money (or save more money) or free up more time (or save more time).
E = Enjoy more.
In one of my speeches I make the following promise: “If you follow this system, not only will you get what you want (if you know what you want) but you will immensely enjoy the process. I am talking about the process of life.”
Whenever you develop your presentation, use this EDGE Checklist and make sure you are promising results from all four categories. You will leave no audience member unmotivated.
When you use these three little-known ways, you will find your audience members taking action on your message and e-mailing (or calling) you down the line to tell you about their results. That means you will touch their lives long after you have left the platform and that is a wonderful feeling. Use these tools. Most people don’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/