What are some of the best practices of some of the best speakers - and how can authors adopt some of these for their presentations?
“Believe in yourself, your message, and your audience, and in the power of your words,” says best-selling author John C. Maxwell in his newish book, The 16 Undeniable Laws of Communication.
He suggests speakers need to speak to one’s heart, with emotion and connection. Offering hope, humor, and help can also win audiences over. As a litmus test for what he shares, he says: “Any message I want to deliver must speak to me before it can speak to others. If it hasn’t helped me, it cannot help others.”
Maxwell makes clear what he wants his audience to see (the possibilities), know (their value), feel (empowered), and do (take action). He has an acronym for how he approaches his sharing of stories:
Show: Help them visualize what you want them to see.
Help: Explain how this story or information helps
Amplify: Push them to dream, explore, and expand their
Relate: Get them to feel and identify with the story.
· Enjoy: Make the story fun and unforgettable.
He notes that the majority of people are visual learners. “About 60% of all people are visual thinkers,” he says. “If you want to engage the imagination of your audience; don’t give them stats, give them images.”
He also encourages the telling of stories to create an emotional response, to feel invested, to animate them, to captivate, and to entertain.
Ask questions of the audience, provide context while making bold assertions, promise to help them, say things they’d likely agree with, and appeal to their self-interests.
His four steps to engagement are to:
Sense what the audience
feels and validate those feelings.
Share how he has felt
the same way too.
Share what he has found
that has helped him.
· Offer to help them find the way to success.
“People who focus on themselves seek to gain attention,” he notes “Speakers who focus on content give out information. Communicators who focus on others, make a connection.”
Essentially, the key to being a great presenter is to focus on the audience's, needs and desires, and to give them your very best.
“People may forget what you say, but they never forget how you make them feel,” writes Maxwell.
He adds: “People won’t like you as communicator because they understand you; they will like you because they feel understood.”
What else should a speaker be? He identifies
these areas as important:
- Be transparent and authentic.
- Be consistent.
- Be a good example of what you say.
- Be great at what you teach.
- Be trustworthy.
“Help people reframe their thinking so that they shift their mindset from good intentions to intentional actions,” writes Maxwell.
Lastly, pause for effect. Don’t speak 100 miles per hour - alter your speed and at times, stop talking. The pause can emphasize what you are saying, give others a chance to catch up to what you are sharing, brings your audience back to you, allows you to reveal emotion, and allows people to hear the room’s reaction to what you just said.
“Silence can underline an important
statement,” he says.
“Power is based on perception.”
--The Adventures of Herbie Cohen, by Rich
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