It was several years ago. I was coaching a senior executive on leadership presence and his communication style. He was a brilliant man, with a stellar career and yet his brilliance didn’t always come across when he spoke in front of an audience.
We were in the middle of a coaching session. It was several weeks before his speech to a challenging audience of nearly a thousand clients from all over the world and all across the industry. He previous experiences of talking to this size of audience had not been very successful. He was nervous and uncomfortable in this medium, something needed to change this time!
I asked the critical question. He was silent.
“As you stand on that stage, what do you stand for?” At first, he didn’t know the answer.
We explored this idea. When you stand in front of people and want to have impact, there are some very important considerations.
‘What do you stand for’ is the question that asks; Who are you? What do you care about? What moves and motivates you? What story do you tell?
Without answering these questions, it’s difficult to have serious impact on your audience.
He began to consider these questions and it totally changed the way in which he prepared and ultimately delivered his talk.
The next session we took a different approach.
I asked ‘what affect do you want your talk to have on your audience?’
This question he could answer straight away. And then I delved deeper by asking the questions, what do you want your audience to think, feel and do as a result of your talk?
With these questions clearly considered and a strategy in place for each answer, my client was ready to impact and influence his audience in a whole new way.
When you prepare to speak to people, whether it’s a small group or a large audience, you need to have a clear understanding of what you are trying to create for them. Every time you desire to have an impact on a person or people, you need to be clear about how you are supporting them.
This is the key to having a message and a way in which to deliver it that will impact your listener.
The story you tell is the key to this because telling a story is a wonderful way to engage and connect with your audience.
People love to hear stories. Stories remind us of who we are and what we care about. Stories excite and motivate us. When we hear a story, we can engage in active listening. And as a storytelling you can create that space which is perfect for delivering a powerful message.
What remains is to make sure that your message is indeed powerful.
By making sure that you have the answer to all these questions, you can ensure that your message is relevant, engaging and even inspiring.
Here’s a quick reminder of these 8 super-important questions:
- What do you stand for?
- Who are you?
- What do you care about?
- What moves and motivates you?
- What affect do you want your talk to have on your audience?
- What do you want your audience to think, feel and do as a result of your talk?
- What’s your message?
- What story are you telling?
Go ahead and answer one of them in the comments below!