Your Audience Wants to Hear What YOU Think!
“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think”― Socrates, ancient Greek philosopher
I was presenting my program, “Great Speaking is Critical to Great Leadership,” to an area Toastmasters Club the other day.
Being in Toastmasters for over thirty years has taught me to never pass up the opportunity to be evaluated if you are delivering a presentation to a Toastmasters Club. My presentation at this Toastmasters meeting was no exception.
The speech was twenty minutes long plus another ten minutes for questions.
The evaluation of my presentation was very positive. However, one of the suggestions for improvement was to go “lighter” on the supporting material from others and add more of my thoughts on the subject. I thought it was a great evaluation point.
So, this newsletter will explore how to do this suggesting the following order of priorities: Share Your Knowledge, Share Your Stories, Share Wisdom from Others
Share Your Knowledge
Chances are there will be, at least, some people in your audience who have heard the quote you use, that relevant story about someone else, or a great historical lesson.
Chances are there will be very few if any people in your audience that have heard your wisdom, a story with you in it, or a great lesson from your past. Audiences attend your presentations to learn something new. Why not give this to them.
Without even knowing your audience, you can assume they will always have this one desire for your presentation. Your audience has come to your presentation wanting to know what YOU think on your subject. If you want your audience to leave your presentation satisfied for the exchange of their time, “pour yourself” into your presentation.
They want to know your knowledge, opinions, and recommendations about your subject. Frankly (pardon the pun), they can read about other people’s knowledge through other people’s books, videos, and audio recordings. What they cannot get from those mediums is YOU!
Sharing your knowledge is a great way for your audience to hear what you know. Another way is through your own personal stories.
Share Your Stories
Chances are you have heard speakers in presentations, read in a book, or heard on a podcast someone tell a story about someone else.
As powerful as stories of others are to your speaking, they are not as powerful as a relevant story of which you are in. The reason for the extra emphasis on personal stories is you have learned first-hand about something and the audience knows you have. This greatly increases your credibility to your audience.
There are three caveats about telling personal stories though. You know how I am about the Rule of Threes.
I have said this before, but I will say it again. Always ensure your story is relevant not only to your speech, but to the exact point you are trying to make when you tell the story. You would be surprised how many speakers do not ensure these two guidelines are accomplished.
Never use a story that takes more than 15% of the time of your speech. If you go over this 15% guideline, the risk of the story becoming your speech goes up.
If you are going to use stories in your presentation, use three of them. Three stories will be just right, just like the momma bear’s porridge was the right temperature for Goldilocks.
Finally, ensure your stories are approximately the same length. If you don’t, you run the risk of one of your main points being overemphasized to the detriment of another main point.
So, after you have shared your knowledge and your stories, it is time to “inject” the wisdom of others.
Share Wisdom from Others
Brian Tracy once said, and I am paraphrasing, you could not possibly learn all the wisdom you need on your own to live a fulfilled life. Therefore, you must learn from others through books, podcasts, videos, etc.
What you learned from Socrates, the Greek philosopher, you learned through Plato’s writings of what Socrates said.
You learned the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin through books written about what he said.
You learned the sagacity of Nelson Mandela through his writings, documentaries about him, and what you read in the media about his life.
The point is you didn’t just know this. You needed to hear it, read it, or see it somewhere else.
When I was a child and well into my adulthood, the way I found out about a subject was to go to the library. Today with the Internet, the world of knowledge for you is only a click away. Although, the vast majority of what I write in these newsletters are my own thoughts, I occasionally do research to confirm my own thoughts on a subject, to discover new knowledge I don’t have, and, of course, to come across the quotes I put at the beginning and end in all my newsletters.
Use the wisdom of others as the third source for supporting material in your presentations. Remember, your audience has come to hear your thoughts. However, it is alright to support them with other people’s knowledge, but not to the point where your presentation becomes primarily the thoughts of others.
So, the order of priority in your presentations supporting material is Share Your Knowledge, Share Your Stories, Share Wisdom from Others.
The world is yearning for speakers who can put a cogent thoughts together in an entertaining, informative, and illuminating presentation.
You can be that person who gives that memorable presentation.
All it takes is your decision to make it so!
Call to Action
In your next presentation, make a special effort to tell your audience your opinion on your subject
In your next presentation, use the power of relevant, personal stories to engage your audience and keep them coming back to future presentations
Use the Internet to unlock the wisdom of the ages to use as supporting material for your next presentation
“Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance”– Plato, ancient Greek philosopher and student of Socrates
Introducing a new book from Frank DiBartolomeo! “Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations”
Launches January 30, 2021 online and in a store near you!
DiBartolomeo Consulting International’s (DCI) mission is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence colleagues and other technical professionals through improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence.
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