Speakers Need To Learn That It’s Really Not About Them

Speakers need to know what their audience really cares about
Speakers need to know what their audience really cares about
Image Credit: O’Reilly Internal

I’m sorry to have to be the one to share this with you, but when you are giving a speech your audience really does not care about you. Oh yeah, you picked a topic that you thought would appeal to them, you have some experience or expertise in this area that you told the world about in order to get people to show up for the speech, and so on. However, as your audience sits there in those uncomfortable chairs, it turns out that they really don’t give a darn about you. Instead, when it comes to your speech, they want to know whats in it for them. How are you going to make this happen?

Do Your Homework

If you want your audience to appreciate the speech that you are going to be sharing with them and experience the importance of public speaking, then you are going to have to take the time to make sure that you know your audience. You are going to have to learn as much about your audience as you can. There are a number of different ways to go about doing this. You can talk with other speakers who have presented to them or you could sit down with someone who will be in your audience and ask them questions. Your goal needs to be to learn enough about your audience so that you can tailor your speech to meet their needs and find ways to help them to improve whatever they are working on.

Stop Talking About Yourself

When we are putting a speech together, it can be a real challenge to come up with enough content to fill a speech. One of the easiest topics that we can go to is also the one that we know the best: ourselves. If we are not careful, we are going to end up turning our speech into a talk that is all about ourselves.

What you need to do here is to very carefully pick and choose from your personal set of successes, failures, and life experiences in order to discover unique things that your audience is going to be able to learn from. Your personal stories should simply be a bit of “spice” that you’ve added to your speech. They should not be the main course that you are asking your audience to feast on. When your speech is over, you want your audience to have learned about something more interesting than just you.

Don’t Brag

Look, we all have skills and talents that make us interesting people. We like it when we have a chance to talk with people about our families, our hobbies and things that have been able to accomplish in our lives. However, it turns out that doing this during a speech is not the right thing to do. As speakers, we really need to get over ourselves. Your audience has already voted – they like you and that’s why they are willing to sit and listen to your speech. You don’t have to spend your speech telling them about all of the great things that you’ve accomplished and why they should love you even more. Instead, share valuable information with them and let them appreciate you for what you’ve been able to teach them.

What All Of This Means For You

As speakers, the reason that we are willing to go to the effort of creating and delivering a speech to an audience is because we believe that we can change their lives in some important way by exposing our audience to the benefits of public speaking. However, we need to be very careful how we go about doing this in order to make sure that we don’t allow ourselves to get all caught up in us and forget to provide our audiences with what they came for.

In order to successfully give a speech, the first thing that we need to do is some homework. We need to take the time to find out who is going to be in our audience. Once we know this we can then shape our speech to best meet their needs. When you are giving your speech, you don’t want to spend the entire speech talking about yourself. Yes, you may have some great accomplishments in your life, but that’s not what your audience want’s to hear about. They have come to learn from your speech and you need to limit how much you talk about yourself. In your life you have a number of different interests, hobbies, and accomplishments. However, this is not why your audience came to hear you. You have knowledge that you can share with them, they don’t need to hear about all of the great things that you’ve been able to accomplish. Instead, build your speech around what they want to learn and make sure that you deliver it to them.

As the person who will be giving the speech, it is your responsibility to make sure that your speech contains what your audience expects from you. It can be all too easy to make your speech about you and your accomplishments. We need to understand that this is not what our audience wants. Share some of your adventures with your audience, but make sure that you are providing them with the information that they came to hear.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: How many personal stories do you think that you can safely work into a 30 minute speech?

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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

So how do you feel about your audience? Do you like them? Maybe we can take this one step further – do you love them? Do you want them to love you? When you consider the fact that your audience probably has never met you before, this might seem like a bit of a stretch goal even if you understand the importance of public speaking. However, as a speaker you have some pretty incredible powers. You have the ability to make your audience fall in love with you if your speech can seduce them, engage their minds, and finally win their hearts.