“Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble.” -Yehuda Berg
People, who can tell a compelling story, have more special powers than Harry Potter and Superman combined. They can control your brain. Literally. In 2006, a study published in NeuroImage Journal showed that the right choice of words could promote certain brain activity.
Now that you are feeling empowered, it’s time to figure out how to create a story message to influence your audience as a speaker. Surprisingly, there isn’t anything supernatural about it. All you do is mix plain research with creativity and sprinkle it with practice.
1. Define Your Platform
In the 21st century, speaking to the audience has taken on many new forms. You don’t even need to be present in-person to create an impact. However, your speech may need a few changes depending on the platform you choose.
- YouTube – allows you to capture a huge audience. The platform has over 2 billion logged-in monthly users. With the right marketing effort, you can reach the target audience and beyond. YouTube is an excellent stage since it’s a visual medium, which can be shared on social media, blog posts, etc.
- Webinars – if hosting an event or conference is currently out of the question, you can do it online by creating a webinar. You can practice your speech-giving skills, demonstrate your expertise, and make a sales pitch from the comfort of your own home.
- Podcasts – 50% of American homes are podcast fans so the reach can be huge. You can use it to connect with the audience, show your expertise, create credibility, and work on your technique for further speeches.
- Live Streams – a live stream is the closest you can get to speak on stage. It gives you a chance to demonstrate authenticity and humanity to connect with the audience. You can be a live speaker without actually being present. An excellent practice!
The last but not the least is real-life speaking. This platform requires top speaking skills and the ability to improvise. It also gives you the best chance to connect with the audience and enjoy high conversion rates. After all, they’ve already come to hear you speak. These people are geared towards accepting your message.
Building your social speaking platform starts with finding opportunities for speaking. While you are honing your skills online, find local stages to tweak your public speaking. Community groups, schools, charities, non-profit organizations, and hospitals have regular meetings that need a guest speaker. You can train your speaking while studying the potential audience.
Use every opportunity to practice your speaking. It doesn’t just help you become a better speaker but assists with growing your database.
- Offline community meetups
- Events arranged by networking organizations
- Library events
- Chamber of commerce events
Choose events related to your niche to ensure you are building connections with your target audience.
Both online and offline platform building doesn’t just help you hone your skills, it allows you to create communities to capitalize on in the future.
2. Know Your Audience
Knowing the audience is the key to making your point. Starting from speaking their language and ending with solving their problems, your entire speech should keep the listeners’ needs in mind.
You need to learn why your topic is important to the people you speak to. Don’t assume they have the same views or background you do. Find out the level of knowledge listeners have about the topic to avoid pounding them with jargon or failing to explain the basics.
Pay special attention to cultural and religious differences when applicable. A mistake in such a delicate area could cost you your audience’s attention, or worse, respect.
If you are giving a live speech, you can probe the audience with a few questions before speaking to figure out their mood and level of knowledge. But the majority of your research must be done in advance.
3. Understanding What the Audience Came to Learn
While you are studying your audience’s background, figure out what they came to learn. As you are making a pitch, setting the foundation for future interactions or giving a pep talk, you can’t lose track of what the audience wants from you.
Give it to them at least three times throughout your speech. Otherwise, you may lose your attention quickly. Your brand awareness effort should be closely tied to the solutions your audience is looking for.
4. Shape Your Story
Everyone loves a good story. All humans are natural storytellers. When we talk about something that interests us, we gesticulate, smile, share emotions, and radiate authenticity. However, since you aren’t planning to talk about meeting the love of your life or winning a spelling bee, your story needs shaping.
When your speech turns into a story, it acquires a structure. It can stop you from veering off the subject while keeping the audience glued to your every word.
A top-notch speech-story should contain:
- A powerful and catchy headline
- A conflict to have the audience curious about what comes next
- Detailed descriptions to create a mental picture
- Details, stats, and figures to add credibility
- Positive elements to keep the overall speech upbeat and hopeful
- Powerful takeaway.
5. Deliver Authentically
You shouldn’t have a problem with authentic delivery if you are passionate about the subject. If you have to talk about something that doesn’t excite you, add elements that do.
Learning how to deliver an authentic speech may be tough. However, by rehearsing sufficiently, adding natural body language, and listening to your audience, you can achieve excellent results.
Whether you are planning your first speech or getting ready for a 100th performance, you can always learn something new. By putting more work into studying your audience and tying the information to the solutions your company offers, you can achieve excellent results.