I recently became an aunt and oh my sweet Jesus, it is the best gig I’ve ever had! My little niece (whom I lovingly call “Squishy” because she’s exactly that - squishy and cuddly) is a little powerhouse in her own way. She can light up a room with her giggle and she can get every last person in the room’s attention with her cries.
If you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, this much you know: a baby will not stop crying until it gets what it needs or wants from you. You also know that you will pretty much do whatever it takes to soothe a crying baby, right?
Well, by that analogy, allow me to introduce you to the concept of giving your audience exactly what it wants. Whenever you’re writing a speech or a business video, ask yourself: what does my audience need from me today? If you can clearly answer this question - and deliver on what that thing is - then you will connect with your audience in the most meaningful way possible.
I don’t mean to say that an audience is like a room full of crying babies. But - just like a child - an audience trusts you to hear them and care for them; they’ve come to you because they believe you have something that will help them. If you don’t deliver on that because you haven’t prepared or are too narrowly-focused on saying only what YOU want to say, you will destroy your relationship with that audience - and they will be hard-pressed to trust you again.
Every time I prepare to give a speech or create a business video, I search for the answer to this “audience question”. And, the answer is always changing, because the audience is always different. In fact, I can’t ever give the same speech twice or be the same person on-video from day to day because my audience (and their needs) are always shifting...and if I’m going to be effective at connecting with them, I need to shift, too.
Finding the answer to this question is often as simple as asking. Poll your audience ahead of time. Ask a sample group what they really want to hear from you. Then - with that knowledge - move forward in planning how you can deliver on that need.
Want more public speaking tips? Click here to learn Six Steps to Writing a Better Speech.