How To Prepare Your Audience Ahead of Time to Love Your Speech
Most speakers simply show up to an event. This may be an event that’s a speaking event. It may be a workshop or teleconference. It may even be your own teleclass or consulting session.
And just showing up to an event and going blah-blah is a mistake.
And the moment the speaker shows up to the event, they are fighting
an uphill battle
The battle is simply one of perception. And yes, let me explain.
Imagine a musician showed up to your town. Imagine he was someone
as well known as Sting. And for the purpose of this exercise, let’s
assume you’re a Sting fan.
What would you expect Sting to sing?
You’d expect ‘Every Breath You Take’. Maybe ‘Roxanne.’ And then
you’d expect him to sing some newer songs like ‘A Thousand Years’
and ‘Ghost Story’ and probably even some songs he just wrote a few
weeks before the performance.
But imagine Sting showing up and singing all brand new songs. And
there you are with your $150 ticket and you don’t know the tune to
one song; can’t sing along to any of the lyrics. And you stand
Sure it’s a great event but it’s all shock and awe
And that’s what most speakers do. It’s all freakin’ shock and awe.
They show up, and the audience has no agenda. They start talking
and the audience has no ‘lyrics’. They start doling out concepts
and the audience isn’t ‘tuned’ in at all.
But imagine you did some groundwork instead
Imagine you did the following:
1) You did preliminary sessions.
This could be a tiny document of three-five pages, and sound bytes
of say 3-5 minutes. Or video of 2-3 minutes. Or even a longer
session of 20 minutes to an hour.
Obviously this would be on the topic you’re going to cover, or some
related topic of extreme value to the audience. These sessions
could be live, or recorded, of course.
2) You sent out an agenda of what you’re going to cover.
This would show that you’re prepared, and in a way give the
audience bullet points. I don’t know if you know this, but the
smartest copywriters in the world focus very, very heavily on
bullet points. And you know why, don’t you?
People read bullet points. Plus bullet points are mini-teasers.
They cause the attendee to get all curious about what will be
covered at the event, while giving them a decent outline of what to
expect. This not only reduces the intimidation but also increases
the eagerness to attend.
3) Before the event, the client should have a ‘must read’ document.
This can’t be your ego on paper. This document should be the
equivalent of a report (about 4-6 pages long at best). And it must
have graphics and text–not text alone. There must be a clear note
to the client to read it before the event itself. And the document
needs to have a decent chunk of what you’re going to speak about.
But that raises a very pertinent question: If you give them all of
these things in advance, why would they show up to hear you speak?
It’s a good question, and here’s the answer
You have a very clear understanding of your material. You know it
inside out and backwards front. Your audience doesn’t know it as
well as you think they do. In fact, in many cases they’re looking
for you to bring that clarity in your presentation.
When they read all the information, it rarely clarifies things in
great detail. When they see a video, read the text, read the
must-read information all they’re really doing is building layers
in their brain. They’re getting a much better understanding of what
you are trying to get across, and are then looking for you to
clarify the concepts even further.
Of course some speakers do the complete opposite
They seek to confuse. So they speak fast. They reveal nothing. They
pepper their speeches with lots of bullet-points to create the
factor of uncertainty and therefore a need for their products and
services. A good example of this type of speech is the famous
marketer, Dan Kennedy. And Dan openly states on his audio/notes
that this is his technique. But you don’t ever have to do a Dan.
Just as confusion causes increase in sales, so does consumption
The more you listen to Sting’s albums, the more you listen to him
on the radio, the more you see his videos, the more you’ll want him
to another rendition of ‘Roxanne’ or ‘”Every Breath You Take.’ The
more you’re familiar with his work, the more you’re relaxed and
it’s actually easy for Sting to sell you a version of either a live
version, a studio version or even a newer album altogether.
And I create ‘advance material’ for every event I possibly can…
When I speak at big events, I make sure that they get an audio or
two, notes, and also a must-read document. If we’re doing a
workshop or course, I now make sure that all the attendees get all
(yes, all) the notes and audio well in advance. When we have
teleconference calls, every call is preceded by a clear agenda that
can then be found in the notes and the audio.
No matter what we do, we always get the audience to learn the
‘tunes, lyrics’ or at least be able to hum the song. And contrary
to what you may believe, this consumption policy boosts your
credibility beyond your wildest imagination. And if you’re only
looking for profit, there’s good news for you too. You will sell
far more if you use this method, than just using the shock and awe
method of showing up and presenting.
Which brings us back to what you need to do right away.
Step 1: Send out preliminary goodies in the form of
Step 2: Send out the agenda for the event. Put bullet points and
detail in the agenda.
Step 3: Send out a ‘must-read’ document of less than 10 pages.
With graphics and text. Make sure they know it’s a ‘must-read’.
And this alone will make your presentation way better than most of
the crappy presentations out there. This alone will make your
events highly sought after.
And the proof?
Better sales, better rapport with the audience, better respect
between the audience and the speaker.
And as you look ahead of you, you’ll see the sight that every top
artist does so well: You’ll see a sea of cigarette lighters glowing
as the audience sings along to your ‘song’ in chorus.
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