Here are two really fast and important speaking tips for you to learn and understand. Start with answering your audience’s most pressing question: “what’s in this for me?” And then finish by giving your audience actionable takeaways. Making these two speaking tips top of mind becomes vital in delivering a presentation that matters. Too often, we have a tendency to clear our autobiographical throats before we dig into educating an audience. Then, we end with no real sense of what comes next. This means we leave people excited, but with nothing to do.
What’s In It For Me? (WIIFM?)
Here’s one way to help your audience understand what’s in it for them: start by asking them a question that sounds like it came from right out of their head. If you’re giving a session on how the communications industry will be changed by audio podcasting, ask something like, “Do you think people REALLY believe that podcasting will change the world?”
This is actually two tips in one. It relates to the “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM) issue, but it also does something I love to do in presenting: take away their sword. This means, start by making sure your audience (especially if they’re skeptics) knows that you’re on their side.
So, ask a question that might come from your audience’s head, such that it sets them in the right frame of mind to absorb the brilliance you’re about to bestow upon them.
This is something I learned to do better after working with Stephen Saber at CrossTech Media. He stresses that every presentation I do for the company have five takeaway points: things people can do with the information I’ve given them during the presentation. That’s the whole “next steps” stuff that people seem to crave at events.
Since I started adding “takeaways” to my presentations, in one form or another, I’ve found that people have started to rate my speeches much more useful. I score high on entertainment, but now, with making sure people know what comes next, they also get scored pretty high on usefulness.
Takeaways should be very actionable. If you’ve finished up your speech on how podcasting changes communication, give people an assignment to find five podcasts on iTunes and subscribe for a month. Take notes on the ways each show introduces information, etc. Review your current corporate communications documents. Do any lend themselves to a potential audio format as well?
Things like that.
How These Help
People love structure. In my recent post on Cirque Du Soleil, I failed to note just how structured the experience was from start to finish. From buying tickets to being seated, from the opening curtain to the final bow, everything in the experience was crafted such that we, the audience, didn’t have to think much about the mechanics of the experience. We could just watch the event and absorb the experience.
By starting with WIIFM and ending with 5 takeaways – even if you do it in a creative way that breaks the mold a bit, people will feel like they better understand and appreciate your efforts to educate and entertain them.
Does that make sense? Have you done something like this? How do you improve what I have here?
Photo credit, Brian Solis