“Why are you telling me this?”
“Why should I care?”
“Why is this important to me anyway?”
Though it may sound as if these words are coming from a teenager; these questions are going through the minds of everyone as you speak. It does not matter if you are presenting to a large group or talking one-on-one. The main thing your audience cares about is themselves. They are wondering how what you say proves valuable to them.
When you are planning your presentation, put yourself in the position of your audience and ask yourself the same questions. Why are you telling this to your audience, why would they care, and most importantly – why is it important to them? If there is no reason, then don’t say it as your audience will not be listening anyway.
Most people do not have an intrinsic desire to take in new information for the sake of learning. We are bombarded by information every day and rely on internal filters to control what we absorb.
When you speak, the listener will be unconsciously deciding if the information is important to them or not. Your job is to present your message in a manner that lets them know why it is in their interest to listen to you. It is the speaker’s job to demonstrate why the listener should pay attention rather than to space out or think about something else.
Design your talk from your audience’s point of view. Why is your message important to them? Why is each part of your talk of interest to them? How will listening make their life better? Examine each part of your talk from your audience’s perspective.
If you address these questions in your planning, you increase the likelihood your audience will pay attention and absorb what you are saying. If you fail to address these questions adequately, you will end up with an audience of one – and the one person paying attention will be the person doing the speaking.
With appreciation to Sam Ham.
© 2009 – This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY. We help people speak effectively and with confidence.
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