So I’m not sure if there is really any big payoff for taking the time to write about how to become a better speaker; however, if there is, then it’s in getting the opportunity to review new books. Oh, andI get the books for freewith no obligation to give a good review – how cool is that?
The other day I received John Maxwell’s Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently book in the mail. Now I must confess that I had never heard of John Maxwell before his publisher sent me a copy of his book to review, but it turns out that he’s a former minister who has becomea very successful leadership speaker and coach.
John Maxwell’s new book deals with one of the fundamental problemsthat we all face when giving a speech: how can we make our words count? Sure, with a little luck we can summon the courage to get up there and give the speech, but what can we do to really connect with our audience and change their lives? Maxwell thinks that he’s got the answers that we’ve been looking for…
The Problem With Speaking: You Are Wasting Your Time
The problem doesn’t lie in the words that we say, but rather in the impact that those words have on others – or don’t have. You’ve probably heard the phrase”talk is cheap”– there’s a reason that this phrase is used so much, it’s because it’s true.
If you are looking fora scientific wayto determine when you’ve been successful in connecting with your next audience, sorry about that – it doesn’t exist. Maxwell points out that this is the kind of thing that a speaker will just “sense” when it happens. On the other hand, if you’re not connecting, you’ll be able to sense that also!
So in order to not waste your time,you need to connect. Just what is this connecting thing? Maxwell defines it in the following way: “Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them.”
The Answer Is 5 + 5
In his book, Maxwell lays outa systemfor any speaker to use in order to boost your ability to connect with your audience. One of the most important points that he makes right off the bat is that if you ever want to have any hope of connecting with your audience, then you’re going to have to make a fundamental shift and stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about them. What are their needs? What do they want from you?
Maxwell lays out what he calls his five”connecting principles”which are the fundamentals that you need to understand before you are going to be able to connect with an audience. These include such things as understanding that connecting requires energy and it is actually more of a skill that we can all develop instead of a talent that some have and others don’t.
The second half of his book is taken up with what is the real payoff: how to develop your ability to connect with your audience. Maxwell shares his five”connecting practices”which are explained in a way that speakers can use them to boost their ability to connect.
I won’t go into them here (buy the book, read the book!), but these practices are things that you already know, but may not be using. One that resonated with me is the”Connectors Do the Difficult Work of Keeping It Simple”practice. I know that that is important; however, it took Maxwell reminding me of it to get me to understand just how harmful it can be to your ability to connect with your audience if you overload them.
What All Of This Means For You
So I was impressed. For me,connecting with my audienceis one of the most important skills that any speaker can have and to this day I keep trying to do a better job of it myself. John Maxwell’s book arrives at an important time for all of us: audience are becoming more demanding and we need to do a better job of connecting with them.
What’s beenmissing in the pasthas been instructions on how to make a connection with your audience happen. In his book, Maxwell lays out 5 connecting principles to guide us to becoming better connectors and then details 5 connecting practices for speakers to use to make this happen.
If, like me, you are looking for ways to do a better job ofconnecting with your audiencesthen John Maxwell’s new book is well worth you checking it out. Rare is the book on public speaking that can provide a reader with solid suggestions on how to become a more effective speaker. This book accomplishes this and makes it easy for the reader to become a better speaker simply by reading and putting its suggestions into practice.
Question For You: How can you tell when you are really connecting with an audience?