Frazer Yendell, Director of The Public Speaking Institute knows that you are more likely to listen to someone you like than someone with all the facts. There are two ends of the spectrum when it comes to speaking success: You can transfer the relevant information to the audience (Directional Structure), or you can create rapport with the audience so that they want to take action (Engagement).
“Many people think they want the first option which is where they go wrong,” Yendell says. “They feel that if they can get through their list of facts in front of the audience, they’ve done their job, even if they have presented in a monotone and everyone has fallen asleep.”
The other end of the spectrum is when we connect with the presenter, have a fantastic time, are entertained but cannot recount anything they said at the end. As Yendell says, this is ”…great for building rapport but this style lacks the substance that you need to convey your message.”
Being at either end of this spectrum obtains the same result for the audience. Their ability to absorb the information that has been delivered is pretty much non-existent.
Yendell believes that “an audience connects with the person, not with a character or information alone. When you are able to find a balance between these two you are able to form a rapport with your audience.” On top of this, you can balance the information that they need to understand and deliver it to them in a way that they can digest. The key here is to have a structure that you can hang your presentation on (the direction) and then talk about those points in your natural way (engagement).
Here are five simple steps Yendell suggests you take the next time you are speaking to an audience:
1. Get very clear on one key message that you want your audience to walk away with. Make this message as specific as possible to your audience. If you find yourself talking about something that does not support your key message directly, the STOP and get back on point.
2. Prepare your talk by breaking it into dot points. Write these clearly, in large type, and structure the points to prompt you with the opening sentence. This will give you momentum and the freedom to talk in your own words and natural style.
3. Pause. Silence is powerful. You don’t have to fill every second of your presentation with sound. Stopping allows your audience to take in what you have said, means you can compose the next thing you are going to say and creates natural breaks in your presentation.
4. No-one gets it all right all of the time. Give yourself permission to learn and improve. Most of the time we let the audience in on our mistakes when we don’t have to. You will be forgiven for an imperfect presentation if you add value to them.
5. Embrace the moment and create a conversation with your audience. You have the knowledge, that is why you were asked to speak. Allow the audience to explore the areas they want to understand.
Yendell says that “when you apply a simple structure to your information and then allow your personality to shine, your presentation will have the perfect blend to maximise effectiveness.”