“I’m concerned that I’m not connecting with the audience. I’m sharp about tech details, but this speaking stuff is outside my comfort zone,” Henry, a member of my audience, said. He was asking for more guidance after one of my speeches.
I shared with him some details, taken from my speech The Savvy CEO: Master of Media Appearances.
Here we’ll cover a brief overview as embodied in the S.A.V.V.Y. process:
S – story
A – attention
V – vulnerability
V – victory
Y – yearning
Through the use of storytelling, we truly connect with audience members.
In my book, Relax, You Don’t Have to Sell, I shared the S.T.O.R.Y. process which includes:
S – set how we like the hero
T – target the hero’s goal
O – open with a grabber
R – reveal the struggle
Y – yearn for the Triumphant Ending and “What I learned…”
To get the full benefit from storytelling, it’s necessary to carefully structure your story. Ultimately, we’re seeking to grab the audience’s attention and to move their feelings.
A key to quieting down your nervousness is to pay attention to your audience members. What material is connecting with them? What is their body language conveying?
When I first began speaking, my right leg fluttered like a hummingbird’s wings. I overcame this situation by shifting from “How am I doing?” to a new focus on the audience—“How are YOU doing?”
The idea is shift from self-consciousness to audience awareness.
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“Vulnerable?” my new client, Sam, asked. “I don’t get that. The company, the board of directors requires me to be strong and clear in my objectives.”
“When dealing with the media or in an all-hands speech, it helps to show you are a human being and not just a stuffed shirt,” I replied.
“How do I do that?”
“We pick something that is an Appropriate Vulnerability.” I went on to share how, in his later years, Dr. Wayne Dyer warmed up the audience by talking about how his teenaged daughter would lightly poke at him by putting her hands on her hips and begin with: “Daaad, you know that …”
Being vulnerable in an appropriate manner wins you the connection with the audience.
Audiences love a well-earned victory. Somewhere in your presentation, show the goal, the setbacks and the real struggle. Then, when you express the Triumphant Outcome, the audience celebrates with you. You take them on the journey so the victory feels like their victory, too.
Make a real connection with an audience by connecting with their Secret Desires—what they’re yearning for.
For example, I was working with a client. She serves women in the second half of their lives. One Secret Desire is to avoid feeling alone. So for the description of an event, I added the detail that she “finds that women often start new, lifelong friendships at her retreats and events.”
I chose the term Secret Desires with care because many people often hold these details close to the vest.
Here is a partial list of Secret Desires:
- Not to be alone
- Not to appear stupid (analytical individuals including engineers and accountants demonstrate this desire)
- Not to be vulnerable
- Not to be obsolete
- Not to fall into financial ruin
We can note Secrets Desires in a positive way: smart, attractive, successful and rich (for example).
Researchers note people’s deep desire to be appreciated and recognized.
Somewhere in your speech, you can include words like: “By your applause about that detail, I realize that you have your fingers on the pulse. You’re really sharp to notice that …”
Pay close attention to your rapport with audience. A bit of praise goes a long way for warming up your connection with your audience.
In summary, to connect with your audience effectively, remember to be S.A.V.V.Y.:
S – story
A – attention
V – vulnerability
V – victory
Y – yearning
Spoken Word Strategist – Executive Coach
Speaker-Author, 44 books so far 🙂
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