How to wow an audience

Most of the humans who come to my company for public speaking have something to sell. Themselves, a product, a cause.

Most people do not like to be sold to. You don’t. I don’t. Yet, most speakers believe the way to sell what they are selling is it directly sell it. To teach the audience something that the audience CAN NOT do without them.

Bad. Not effective. Don’t do it.

Instead, teach the audience something they can do themselves, without you. Educate them, give a REAL take away value and figure out a way to give them a take away so they will remember how they got it.  Honor the persons time.  Make that the goal – not selling.

If you are a consultant, this means maybe giving away some of your secret sauce. Don’t worry, you will make more. Example: What I am doing right now. My company makes money when we use our intellectual property to wow our clients who hire us. The reality is, you don’t HAVE to hire my team for your next speech if you read my book and practice what is in the blog. The reality is once you hit it out of the park with the free stuff you get – you are more likely to want to know what else there is.   If I am taking your time right now in reading this, I’d better GIVE you some value.   Something tangible.

If you are a politician, this means giving away some of your personal history and perspective. Example: Instead of talking about the need for police and funding for police. (all politicians do that) Think about educating the audience in a different way. Think about it for a second. More police on the beat is expensive and one level of context. Another level is this: Let’s think of an average police officer. Do you think when police officer goes to the grocery store when she is OFF work she stops being a police officer? When she is walking the dog? Washing her car? If we really want our streets to be safe, we need to create affordable housing for police and fire. If more police live in our neighborhoods, the neighborhood will be safer. Right now, many of our police officers live in Daly City. (find some statistics on this) Educate in detail rather than talk about high level of context stuff.

If you are a cause, get off your obvious soap box and reach more people.  The environment.   The moment we make someone feel bad about the car they drive we reduce listening.  We create an “us and them” mentality where to them we are THEM.  (god, does that make any sense at all?)   Imagine educating an audience on what they CAN do for their own benefit.. not to save the world.   FOr example:  we are the most innovative country on the planet.  Think about what we have invented:  the telephone, electricity, the internet… we CAN figure out a more efficient, inexpensive, low impact way to get off oil.  Let’s imagine we don’t care about the planet .. it will be the next big boom for our country.   There is money to be had here – this is a US  (U.S.) initiative- not a democratic initiative.

Oh, and when teaching.  Please avoid being obvious.  The worst thing a CEO can do is tell a story about WORKING REALLY HARD to get his team to WORK HARD.   Give them whiplash a little so they don’t know what is coming.

Hope this helps.  Typos and all!

4 Replies to “How to wow an audience”

  1. Thanks for that Christina. Relly useful thought. I’m struck by the relationship to the who dot.com / Google model. Relationships really start when you give something freely. That is the connection. I don’t seek to wow the audience: In my head my goal is to connect with them and then to have them engage their hearts or minds (depends on the topic) around my talk or performance whichever is at hand.

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