It doesn’t matter if you are speaking to an audience of one or 1,000. It doesn’t matter if your audience is internal in your organization or external outside your organization. And it doesn’t matter what your audience looks like.
All audiences want you to deliver three things, minimum:
1. The feeling that you get their pain and struggle.
2. An insight that helps them navigate their life, their job, or both.
3. A pathway to help them get from where they are to where they want to go.
Pain & Struggle:
The first mile on the road to influence is emotional connection. Unless you are an uber-celebrity, your audience doesn’t really care about you. Don’t take it personally. It’s the human condition. Audience members operate off of this acronym: WIIFM—What’s In It For Me.
If you address the pain and struggle that your audience currently faces—whether that’s financial, social, family, whatever—then you begin to build an emotional connect. Audience members sense that you get them. Even in a large audience, individuals start to feel like you are talking to them one-on-one. That’s magic. Speak to pain and struggle or don’t expect people to listen to you for very long.
Think about what Moses did when he delivered the 10 Commandments. He gave a group of people that was literally wandering aimlessly in the dessert insights to help them navigate their lives. He did it with straight forward do’s and don’ts. You don’t have to be Moses to help people who feel like they are wandering in their own personal dessert. Most of us feel lost at times, some more than others, but we all feel that way some times. When you can help people navigate the complexity of their lives and or their jobs with some powerful, actionable insights they will see you as a resource.
Where are you now? Where were you five, ten, fifteen weeks, months, years ago? How did you get from there to here. That’s a pathway. And if you can layout that pathway to your audience in a way that they can see how they can use it in their lives and not merely as a celebration of you, then you have delivered real value.
Here’s an example. I am the play-by-play voice of the Baltimore Ravens, a TV and radio broadcaster who has worked on-air for 35 years. I graduated college with a finance and economi