In most of the speeches that we give, we are trying to convince our audience to take some action – that’s what the importance of public speaking is all about. Maybe we want them to buy our product, vote for our candidate, or clean up their town. No matter what we want them to do, they are not going to do it if they don’t trust us. Since most of your audience had never heard of you before you took the stage, you are going to have to find a way to use your speech to build a sense of trust with your audience. Just exactly how are you going to go about doing this?
Its All About Trust
You’re preparing to deliver a speech to your manager, a prospective client or perhaps a stakeholder. You’ve taken the time to prepare all your talking points using a catchy opening, a clearly defined situation and a solid business case or personal example. You plan to end with a compelling statement of the benefits offered by the plan. You should be all set – right? It turns out that the answer is not really. Studies show that the best speakers today are not only effective at presenting their cases; they are also good at building trust. If you pitch, but don’t build trust with your audience in the process, then you’re in dangerous territory. You may be seen as a pitch artist; however your “gift of the gab” may actually work against you. Your audience may think you’re simply a smooth talker and wonder if you can deliver on your promises. We need to understand that trust is the absolute conviction that the other person has your best interests in mind. Speakers need to understand that without trust, there is only risk.
Every speaker would like to find ways to become more trustworthy. Some speakers have an aura of trustworthiness about them. They just seem to be trustworthy. This may be in intangible ways we can’t readily identify. But you can do tangible things to build trust when speaking to people that you’d like to influence. Here are a few. Don’t talk at audiences; engage with them. Ask the right questions at the right time in order to win them over. Listen proactively and let the other party provide input to your speech. Great speakers know that communication is a two-way street. Using this kind of dialogue lets people know you are genuinely interested in what they have to say and what they want. Taking such steps helps turn a standard speech into a “trust pitch.”
Use communication strategies when you present your speech, but make sure you are true to yourself and your own style. A key to building trust is making sure that you are being sincere. When you are trying to persuade audience members with your speech you have to be authentic. One sure-fire way to lose the trust of your audience is to be disingenuous. If you aren’t you, in the audience’s eyes your idea probably won’t be what you say it is, either. In substance and style, realize that authenticity sells. Try to persuade, don’t push. Persuading today is not about pushing your point of view.
Adding Trust To Your Next Speech
When during a speech we are “pitching trust” it is about sparking interest by making a catchy yet relevant opening statement and then leading your audience through an interactive process of identifying challenges, projecting the benefit of taking action and motivating the audience to move forward. In a world that grows more complicated every day, audiences are almost begging to be led by a trusted adviser. Speakers have to understand that trust is not acquired or inherited. Rather it is built. It takes time to build, to establish trust, and it takes but a moment to break it. The paradox of a great pitch in a speech is that it should not feel pitchy. Audiences today have a built-in skepticism meter. It’s easy for a speaker to be labeled as a fake. If you’re doing all the talking during a speech, even if you are brilliant, the other party’s mind may drift.
When we are giving a speech, our “trust pitches” must begin with something that grabs the audience’s full attention. The opening can include a success story, the surprising results of a test market, or even the outcome of not taking action on the topic you’re talking about. But whatever it is, it needs to be relevant to the overall pitch to your audience. Don’t simply push forward with your standard statement about the benefits of the plan without knowing your audience’s level of familiarity and buy-in. It’s much more effective to turn your pitch into an inclusive, conversational dialogue with your audience, in which you take the lead by having good questions prepared in advance. When you ask questions, you have the ability to navigate the conversation. Realize that navigating is leading. Presenting while being unaware of quiet resistance is a naïve thing to do. Keep in mind that If you’re going down a path alone, you’re not leading.
When we give a speech, we need to always have a plan. As you prepare your speech, keep these questions in mind. What is the objective of your speech? How will you stimulate your audience’s interest? Being mindful of your objectives, how will you engage the audience in an interactive discussion in which you actively seek to understand their point of view? How will you jointly build a solution with your audience, even if the actual building will occur once you gain approval or win the business? What actions do you want the audience to take following your pitch? By clearly defining the answers to these questions, you will increase your confidence as you give your speech. That will help you to engage, to lead and to build trust with your audience.
What All Of This Means For You
Any speaker can give a speech. However, it take a good speaker to be able to give a speech in which we are able to use the benefits of public speaking to build the trust of our audience. When we are creating a speech, we need to realize that building trust is going to be an important part of the speech that we give. This means that we need to consider our audience and what it will take to build trust with them as we deliver our speech.
If we find ourselves just trying to pitch our idea to our audience without trying to build their trust, then we will be wasting our time. Every speaker wants to come across as being trustworthy. We can take steps to become more trustworthy. When we give a speech we need to make sure that we are being sincere. Trust is something that a speaker has to build with their audience. We need to make sure that the opening of our speech will be relevant to our audience. Prior to giving a speech make sure that you have a plan for how you will build trust with your audience.
Trust is a fickle thing. When you take the stage, you do not have any trust with your audience because they don’t know you. It is going to be up to you to build trust with your audience during your speech. The good news is that this can be done. However, you will need to make sure that you understand your audience and that you take the time find ways to build trust with them. If you can do this, then you will have found a way to truly connect with your audience.
Question For You: How can you measure how much trust you have created with your audience?
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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Every speaker wants their next speech to be a successful speech. We do the things that we know that we have to do: we select a topic, write a speech, practice it, and then we end up just hoping that the importance of public speaking will make everything work out for us. However, it turns out that we can take matters into our own hands. Our success is something that we have control over. If we know what we need to do, and if we do it, then we can ensure that the next speech that we’ll be giving is going to turn out to be a success!