“If you give something to people that they actually want and need … they will love you forever”. Mitch Joel
In the current connected environment we are bombarded with 1000’s of messages every week. Sometimes it is online or through the media and other times it is at seminars, workshops or other presentations. Regardless, most people consume content because they are seeking information, knowledge or a solution to a problem. Putting ourselves on the other side of the equation, when we are the person creating the content and presenting the message, we need to ensure our content is top notch, valuable and beneficial to the audience that is listening to us.
So how do you go about creating a powerful message so that you can have impact and influence the audience in a way that you want. Here are some tips to help make your content King and ensure your message does not disappear into obscurity, or is irrelevant to the audience.
Most people attend seminars, workshops, information sessions and conferences so that they can learn something that will help them. This may be to solve a problem or achieve a goal. Simply if you give your audience a message that helps them in one way or another you will be appreciated. The metaphor that I always share is “to what headache are you the Panadol for in this message”. How is your content helping your audience?
2. Tell a story that makes the audience the heroes
The power of stories is undeniable and all great speakers and influencer’s use stories to create memorable and target messages. The secret to making a story have impact is to make the audience feel like they are the hero. Make them feel that they have a role to play and it is their actions and next steps that bring a great ending to the story. Too many people when they tell stories make themselves the heroes of their own stories. Yes we know you overcame adversity and achieved great things, but make it about the audience. The other mistake is using the wrong story that turns out to be irrelevant to the audience you are speaking to.
3. Give people a way forward – Show them light at the end of the tunnel
I love listening to Allan Parker speak. One of the memorable things Allan said was that every time we interact with someone, we are either adding to them, or taking away from them; building them up or breaking them down. And we have a choice. Most people have a preference to add to people and to build them up. Even in giving feedback or criticism it should be with the aim of adding to that individual or the team. With your message you can give people hope, you can show them light at the end of tunnel and you can help them realise that they can achieve what they thought impossible. Maybe you need to speak about a new way of doing things, take exception to the status quo, disagree with the majority and encourage unwelcome change. If you make sure your content and your message are designed to add to the people in the room, rather than take from them, then you will have greater success in getting your message across.
4. Keep the message concise and targeted
Most people only remember one thing after a presentation or seminar. It is therefore important that you craft you message to be clear, concise and memorable. If they only remember one thing, then you want to be in control of what that one thing is. Common mistakes include information overload, death by PowerPoint and the scatter-gun approach. The scatter-gun approach is where you spray lots of information and random messages and hope that some of it sticks, without knowing which message will stick. This is why crafting you content and being clear on your message is so important.
5. Have a clear next step or action that people can take
As you plan your content it is great to have a next step or a call to action. Ensuring the next step is something that is of value, or has benefit for the audience, is achievable and requires clear action, will increase the chance of your message having traction. But it must be about the audience and for the audience and the outcome beneficial to the people you are speaking to. Many people speak beautifully, tell fantastic stories and have lots of facts and figures and they then stop talking. They have no call to action and everyone walks out feeling warm and fuzzy, but nothing changes.
Now I know in the public speaking and the presentation world we must have rapport, authenticity, honesty, confidence, and credibility when presenting. I know that our nonverbal communication and voice accounts for 93% of our communication and the words only 7%. However, no matter how great our rapport, non-verbal’s, confidence, credibility and authenticity are, if we have poor, confused, or mixed messages, then will probably not get any change or have any impact on our audience.
So in public speaking and presentations, your content is still King.