Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How to Connect When Speaking Publicly; Part 4

Part 4; Know What Your Audience Needs

Products fail all the time because the thing offered was either not wanted by the intended consumer group, or was not needed by them. A speaker’s message can fail for the same reason. If it failed, it could be because it was either something no one needed, or no one wanted.
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But with a message, a savvy speaker can be received well even if the message is not wanted. If the message is needed, and presented in an effective manner, it can still be a winner with the audience.

Of course, you have to know what the audience needs. Depending on what kind of audience you are speaking to, this can be a challenge. Are you speaking to executives, leaders, managers, educators, a political group, a religious group? It is best to do a little background work and find out some history of the group, business or organization. This kind of learning is of obvious value. But what do you do with it once you have it.

The very best way to connect a difficult message to an audience is to tap into a value they already hold, or a practice in which they are already invested. If you are going to speak to a  group of business leaders in an organization where micro-managing has a long and celebrated past, then the need would be to raise the value of allowing more creativity and giving room for some degree of failure so that the employees are more invested in their work. More invested workers are – and here are the values to which you can connect – better, more productive, more efficient, and happier, meaning less turnover and lower operating costs. There is plenty of research out there about how and why this is true. 

Or if you are speaking to a group of volunteers or a department of workers in a particular company, and the problem seems to be that there are widely divergent personality types that do not get along, you have to shift their focus. Your message might take the emphasis off of getting along, and put it on the value of job contentment and a sanity-producing workplace. People might be willing to change behavior if it means a happier, more contented work environment where they would not change if they feel it means giving in and letting that annoying co-worker win. Giving people hope is always a winning strategy for a message. 

Then, once they buy into the value of a happy, productive workplace, selling the idea of doing what it takes to get along becomes a bit easier. But you have to pave the way for the difficult notion of getting along with the more easily accepted idea of happiness and contentment.

Okay, so I picked a couple of easy ones. But you get the idea. When going for the win, connect your message and it’s thesis to those already-held values. 


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