How To Prepare Your Audience Ahead of Time to Love Your Speech

Most speakers simply show up to an event. This may be an event that's a speaking event. It may be a workshop or teleconference. It may even be your own teleclass or consulting session.

And just showing up to an event and going blah-blah is a mistake.

And the moment the speaker shows up to the event, they are fighting an uphill battle

The battle is simply one of perception. And yes, let me explain. Imagine a musician showed up to your town. Imagine he was someone as well known as Sting. And for the purpose of this exercise, let's assume you're a Sting fan.

What would you expect Sting to sing?

You'd expect 'Every Breath You Take'. Maybe 'Roxanne.' And then you'd expect him to sing some newer songs like 'A Thousand Years' and 'Ghost Story' and probably even some songs he just wrote a few weeks before the performance.

But imagine Sting showing up and singing all brand new songs. And there you are with your $150 ticket and you don't know the tune to one song; can't sing along to any of the lyrics. And you stand there dumbfounded.

Sure it's a great event but it's all shock and awe

And that's what most speakers do. It's all freakin' shock and awe. They show up, and the audience has no agenda. They start talking and the audience has no 'lyrics'. They start doling out concepts and the audience isn't 'tuned' in at all.

But imagine you did some groundwork instead

Imagine you did the following:

1) You did preliminary sessions.

This could be a tiny document of three-five pages, and sound bytes of say 3-5 minutes. Or video of 2-3 minutes. Or even a longer session of 20 minutes to an hour.

Obviously this would be on the topic you're going to cover, or some related topic of extreme value to the audience. These sessions could be live, or recorded, of course.

2) You sent out an agenda of what you're going to cover.

This would show that you're prepared, and in a way give the audience bullet points. I don't know if you know this, but the smartest copywriters in the world focus very, very heavily on bullet points. And you know why, don't you?

People read bullet points. Plus bullet points are mini-teasers. They cause the attendee to get all curious about what will be covered at the event, while giving them a decent outline of what to expect. This not only reduces the intimidation but also increases the eagerness to attend.

3) Before the event, the client should have a 'must read' document.

This can't be your ego on paper. This document should be the equivalent of a report (about 4-6 pages long at best). And it must have graphics and text--not text alone. There must be a clear note to the client to read it before the event itself. And the document needs to have a decent chunk of what you're going to speak about.

But that raises a very pertinent question: If you give them all of these things in advance, why would they show up to hear you speak?

It's a good question, and here's the answer

You have a very clear understanding of your material. You know it inside out and backwards front. Your audience doesn't know it as well as you think they do. In fact, in many cases they're looking for you to bring that clarity in your presentation.

When they read all the information, it rarely clarifies things in great detail. When they see a video, read the text, read the must-read information all they're really doing is building layers in their brain. They're getting a much better understanding of what you are trying to get across, and are then looking for you to clarify the concepts even further.

Of course some speakers do the complete opposite

They seek to confuse. So they speak fast. They reveal nothing. They pepper their speeches with lots of bullet-points to create the factor of uncertainty and therefore a need for their products and services. A good example of this type of speech is the famous marketer, Dan Kennedy. And Dan openly states on his audio/notes that this is his technique. But you don't ever have to do a Dan.

Just as confusion causes increase in sales, so does consumption

The more you listen to Sting's albums, the more you listen to him on the radio, the more you see his videos, the more you'll want him to another rendition of 'Roxanne' or '"Every Breath You Take.' The more you're familiar with his work, the more you're relaxed and it's actually easy for Sting to sell you a version of either a live version, a studio version or even a newer album altogether.

And I create 'advance material' for every event I possibly can...

When I speak at big events, I make sure that they get an audio or two, notes, and also a must-read document. If we're doing a workshop or course, I now make sure that all the attendees get all (yes, all) the notes and audio well in advance. When we have teleconference calls, every call is preceded by a clear agenda that can then be found in the notes and the audio.

No matter what we do, we always get the audience to learn the 'tunes, lyrics' or at least be able to hum the song. And contrary to what you may believe, this consumption policy boosts your credibility beyond your wildest imagination. And if you're only looking for profit, there's good news for you too. You will sell far more if you use this method, than just using the shock and awe method of showing up and presenting.

Which brings us back to what you need to do right away.

Step 1: Send out preliminary goodies in the form of audio/text/video.

Step 2: Send out the agenda for the event. Put bullet points and detail in the agenda.

Step 3: Send out a 'must-read' document of less than 10 pages. With graphics and text. Make sure they know it's a 'must-read'.

And this alone will make your presentation way better than most of the crappy presentations out there. This alone will make your events highly sought after.

And the proof?

Better sales, better rapport with the audience, better respect between the audience and the speaker.

And as you look ahead of you, you'll see the sight that every top artist does so well: You'll see a sea of cigarette lighters glowing as the audience sings along to your 'song' in chorus.

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