3 Ways to Prepare Well for your next Audience

It’s about them, not about you.

But only if you make an effort to prepare well. Meaning, thinking about your listeners and how that modifies your message. Most speakers don’t prepare this way.

Here’s what can lead to not preparing for your audience.

You get called on to inform or persuade a group. What’s your first thought? For many it’s, “they want me?”  Swelling with pride and loving the recognition – face it, that’s a natural response – we tend towards proving their selection is right. How do we prove it? We plan to fill our time with everything we know on the selected topic. Or how to be entertaining.

That’s the type of preparation that is off-base.

What information-overload does leads to the opposite of our intention. Instead of affirming us as a great selection, we have just killed it. Simply put, we make it seem the spotlight is all about us. Entertaining has its value, but it is short-lived. Listeners don’t want their time wasted.

Instead, let planning for this particular group of listeners give you the ability to break down the barrier of wasting their time and seeking the spotlight. Give them something to remember you by – relate to them and their needs.

Prepare your message well with these 3 questions.

  1. Instead of “What do I know about my topic?” ask yourself  “What experiences/feelings does this audience have about my topic?”
  2. Instead of “What do I want listeners to know?” ask yourself “Based on the answer to #1, what do they need to know to continue being affirmed or to help them take action or to solve their problem?”
  3. Instead of just “What do I want them to do?” ask yourself “What is their motivation to apply my message?”

The first question helps you uncover the starting point of your listeners. With this you can decide where to begin and how to relate to their experiences. Using their experiences in your message helps them feel connected to you and anticipate where you’re headed. They decide to listen.

The second question helps you get to the point of why you are there and hone your focus. Sharing this honed focus upfront gives them a road map to follow. They get satisfaction with your clarity and their ability to follow you while you lead them towards a defined outcome.

Many speakers eliminate question 3 or never realize the power it builds to create change. Speaking to motivation allows you to say, “I know what you’re thinking. I’m already on track. Why should I do more? Here’s the thing. You may not yet feel peace of mind. Taking this step removes all regrets.”

Not that peace of mind is the only motivator. Find out what motivates them. Conclude with that motivator as a challenge to listeners. This helps your message take root in their minds and lodge in an area near and dear to them.

Once again, speakers get in their own way when all they prepare to do is show up and spew out information. They are selfish in this behavior. The speaker may be in the spotlight, but it’s not about them.  Use these 3 questions to prepare well and notice the impact it makes on your connection and your results.

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