Sep 9, 2009

TRULY SPEAKING: Why Should I Listen to You?

Tell me, why should I listen to you? Is it because you have something to say that's more important than anything I could have to say? (No.) Maybe it's because you're smarter than I am? (Not likely.) Or perhaps you are simply more interesting than I? (Nope, not that either.)

So, why should I listen to you? Here's why: Because I might learn something that will make me better, brighter, funnier, faster, smarter, even sexier. I should listen to you, because I'm interested in myself.

Sound crazy? Think again! The fact is that all of our brains go through this thought process—just not usually so specifically. That's why the most captivating of public speakers regularly start their speeches out with a question that's geared toward the audience (such as, "Who here is embarrassed by their middle name?") in order to hook our egos immediately and immerse us in the talk as if our lives, for the moment at least, depended on it.

Being a spectacular speaker means reaching out to your audience to talk about what interests them. But the true secret to really connecting with that audience is aligning what interests you—your true passion in life—to audience interests. If you're embarrassed by your own middle name, you can tell a tale or two about growing up, hiding your middle initial wherever possible or humorously fudging your middle name with hilarious results. Your audience will then laugh—not at you, but with you, as they recognize elements of themselves in your truly captivating story.

So, why should you listen to me? Simple: You want to be a better communicator, and you feel connected to what I'm saying.

To make a big splash with your audience—whether it's a packed house or a cozy home—means finding common ground that you and they both can share and indwell for as long as you're speaking. After all, not everyone is automatically as good at listening as you are.

© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2009

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