I’m a bit hesitant about sharing this piece of information that I’ve stumbled across with you. It turns out that a long time ago (1885), researchers discovered that when you tell someone something, despite the importance of public speaking, 70% of them will forget what you told them within one day. It gets even worse: most of them will forget what you told them within hours of hearing it. It turns out that it doesn’t have to be this way. By using a few simple speaking techniques, you can boost your next audience’s ability to remember what you have told them.
Little Ideas Are Bad. Big Ideas Are Good.
Just what is your next speech going to be about? If you are like most of us, there are going to be a number of different topics that you’ll be covering in your speech. This is the problem: if you expect your audience to remember a collection of “little” topics, then you’re going to be sadly disappointed.
Instead, take a different approach. As you are creating your speech, give some serious thought to just exactly what your main idea is. Once you’ve identified this, create a short, concise way to describe this idea (3-5 words). This is your main idea, this is your big idea.
Having a big idea and expressing it in a simple way that your audience is going to be able to remember is the key to boosting their ability to retain what you tell them. A little work when you are creating your speech will result in a big payoff for you when you deliver it.
5 Minutes Is The Right Amount Of Time
Most of the speeches that we give contain a fair amount of content. There may be a process that we’re trying to explain, a new way of performing some task, or a different way of organizing something. This is too much information for our audience to have any chance of remembering. We’ve got to do something to boost their chances of being able to retain what we tell them.
What you are going to need to do is to take that big mass of data that you have to share with your audience and break it into much smaller bite-sized pieces. Each of these pieces should be able to be described in about 5 minutes. Once you’ve done this, you can string the 5-minute segments together in your speech to get your point across.
The real beauty of this approach is that it gives you the maximum amount of flexibility. Once you’ve created your set of 5-minute segments, you’ll be able to rearrange them, drop them, or expand upon them in order to meet the unique needs of the audience that you are currently addressing.
Inspire To Be Remembered
In the end, if you want what you tell your audience to be remembered, then you are going to have to find some way to inspire them. What this means is that the words that you say are going to have to be memorable. I’m pretty sure that everyone understand this idea, but exactly how to go about doing it is where things can get tricky.
In order to inspire your audience, you are going to have to find a way to convince them that they can actually accomplish what you have shared with them. One of the best ways to go about doing this is to share with them stories of others who have been able to do it. As you tell the story of somebody who did what you want them to do, they’ll be motivated to follow in their footsteps.
You can take this idea one step further. If you have personally been in a situation where you were able to use the information that you have presented, then tell the audience your story. There is nothing more powerful or inspirational than having someone tell you how they were able to be successful. Do this right, and you’ll have wound up your audience to go out and implement what you just got done telling them about.
What All Of This Means For You
As long as you are willing to go to the effort of creating and delivering a speech, you sure would like what you say to be remembered by your audience — this is, after all one of the benefits of public speaking. Unfortunately, it turns out that there is a very good chance that your audiences won’t be able to remember what you told them for any longer than a day.
In order to solve this problem, you need to change how you give your speeches. You need to start to include a big idea in your speeches. This is an idea that you’ll focus your speech on and that your audience will be able to remember long after you are done. Avoid presenting your information in long run-on segments. Instead, break it up into 5 minute sections that allow your audience to digest each piece before you give them more. Finally, you need to make sure that you inspire your audience – now that they’ve heard your speech, what should they go out and do?
Not being remembered is almost the ultimate insult for a speaker – I mean, why did you even bother giving the speech in the first place? Learn how to make your message “stick” with your audience and you’ll discover that you’ve become a much more powerful speaker. It’s the speaker who is remembered who can change the world.
Question For You: Do you think that after you get done with your 5-minute segments, you should summarize what you’ve told your audience?
Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
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
All speakers are not created the same. In fact, I think that it’s pretty safe to say that no two speakers are the same. What this really means is that as speakers we all fall into one of several different “color buckets”. Knowing which color bucket you are in is an important part of realizing the importance of public speaking and becoming an effective speaker.