People are simple. They usually forget pretty much everything. If you want them to remember something, you gotta make it really really really really simple. And memorable. And powerful. And even then most people will forget it all.
So what can you do about it?
A great speech, training or sharing might get across one idea. That one idea might vary across the audience with a very polished speaker – someone unfamiliar with the area might pick up a simple concept while someone more experienced might pick up something more subtle. But you’re only looking to get across one idea. To try to get across the “ten steps to effective communication” in 20 minutes risks leaving the audience like Oscar Wilde who, after speed reading War and Peace, said “it was about Russia”.
- What is your message?
- What is important enough that you could take 10 or 20 minutes of the lives of the audience – that they won’t get back – to listen to you?
- What is something that you’re really passionate about? Some one idea that you know with every part of yourself can make a noticeable, immediate impact on the audience.
Because they won’t remember it for long if they don’t use it straight away.
Last week I delivered a training focused on getting into a better mental and emotional state when you are speaking.
For someone familiar with some ideas of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), they might have identified another way to do the ‘anchoring’ techniques with which they were already familiar, and how to apply that existing knowledge to the speaking context.
For most of the rest of the room, unfamiliar with NLP, they (hopefully!) got an awareness of the importance of state to performance, and maybe the awareness that we have the ability to influence, change and deliberately manipulate our state. Some people may have picked up the link between manipulating our own state and manipulating the state of those around us, especially the audience – though I left this link more subtle.
The next time you are preparing a training, sharing session or workshop, you might consider how you could answer these three simple questions:
- What is your message?
- What feelings, ideas and techniques do you want to transfer to your audience?
- What can you delete and what do you need to add in order to get that message across?
At least to get you started.
Daniel Smith DTM, a member of China Advanced Toastmasters, will be delivering a training entitled “Building a Better Speaking State” as part of the October 2010 District 85 Conference in Beijing. Daniel is the leading New Code NLP Trainer in Asia, Chairman of The China NLP Society, is based in Shanghai and leads NLP trainings across the region.