Speakers want to be remembered. We’ve put a lot of effort in to creating, practicing, and then delivering our speech. We want this effort to mean something because we understand the importance of public speaking. We want to be remembered. The challenge that we are facing is that we are talking to a diverse audience. Everyone who is listening to us is different and they all remember things differently. We need to understand how they remember and then find ways to make them remember us.
How An Audience Forms Memories
As speakers, we need to realize that when people learn something new, they are forming memories. Because audiences learn in different ways, speakers need to be aware of the most common learning styles which are: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. To ensure that your audience remembers you and your message, you are going to have to incorporate a range of techniques in order to connect with audience members who have different learning styles.
Speakers need to understand that for visual learners, it’s all about what they see. Visual Learners use images, words, pictures, graphs and diagrams to form the memories that they will retain. These people need to stay connected to your information in front of them because they don’t deal with distractions well. To connect with visual learners:
- Use PowerPoint, a projector or handouts to incorporate illustrations about your topic.
- Offer a notepad and pen to all attendees who want to take notes.
- Make eye contact with as many individuals as possible to keep their focus on you.
You would think that an auditory learner would be the perfect candidate to remember your speech since they absorb information through speaking and listening. However, just like everyone else, if you don’t shape your speech for them, they won’t be able to remember what you said. Listening to lectures, reading aloud and having discussions about new information are the best ways for these people to learn. To connect with auditory learners you are going to have to do the following things:
- Repeat significant details and main points. Verbal repetition reinforces your ideas.
- Divide your audience into small discussion groups during your presentation so they can discuss ideas aloud in their own words.
The final group of learners that your speech is going to have to appeal to will be the kinesthetic (or tactile) learners. These members of your audience will retain information they experience firsthand. These people do not enjoy sitting still for long. Instead, they prefer to participate, role-play, use their motor skills and take frequent breaks. As a speaker, to reach kinesthetic learners you will have to:
- Incorporate a hands-on activity or pass around something worth examining that pertains to your subject matter.
- Allow audience members the option of sitting or standing.
- Suggest locations such as museums or learning centers for people to attend after your speech to learn more.
- Create a game for audience members to participate in.
What All Of This Means For You
If you are going to share the benefits of public speaking and you want your next speech to be remembered by your audience, then you are going to have to go to the effort of crafting it so that your audience can remember what you’ve told them. In order to accomplish this, you’ll need to keep in mind that every person in your audience is different and they all learn and remember differently.
Speakers need to be aware that there are three very different ways that people learn and remember things: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. When we give a speech we need to appeal to each one of these different learning methods. Regardless of your next presentation’s topic, be sure to share your subject matter in a variety of ways so your listeners can retain your message. You will feel good about connecting with your audience members, and they will be excited about learning something new.
The good news is that if we understand how our audience forms memories, then we can create speeches that will allow our audiences to remember what we have told them. This won’t be an easy thing to do because incorporating different styles of learning into a single speech will take some doing. However, if we can get good at making it easy to remember what we have said, then we’ll be the speaker that audience remember long after we are done talking!
Question For You: How can you tell if the different types of learners are able to remember what you have told them?
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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
Back in the old days, when we came up with a new idea that we wanted to use in a speech, we really didn’t have a lot of choices when it came to trying out our new idea. Oh sure, there were family and friends, but you know as well as I do that because of the importance of public speaking they would never tell you if one of your ideas was really bad. What we were desperately missing was a test audience – one that could give us honest feedback on our speech idea. Well, fast forward to today and it turns out that now we all have what we’ve been looking for – a social media audience.