Interesting question to ponder: If you sit down and have a conversation with someone, and they listen intently to everything you have to say, then stand up and walk away without ever commenting on your conversation, how would you feel? What if you knew that the advice you gave was great and exactly what the person listening to you needed? You had the chance to speak, but were you, in fact, heard?
Often when you and I get an opportunity to be in front of an audience, we love that feeling of engagement as well as the instant gratification of the laughter and applause. That’s cool, but it is not enough. It does not necessarily mean that your audience’s time was well spent. Consider it a success when people send you testimonial messages of how they applied your advice and improved, based on your advice, weeks or even months later.
“We do not get paid to speak for the number of ideas we have or for the words we speak but for the depth of the ideas we plant.”
My mom has the greenest thumb that I know of. She feeds her whole neighborhood with summer squash and tomatoes every year. She is consistent. She has a process that she follows every year, starting with drying the seeds from that year to planting them the following year. She knows the best time to plant and how to do it. Her results are amazing.
Do you want results from every speech you give? As a presenter, you can’t get great results unless the audience gets results. Your success is tied to their successes as a result of your presentation. It doesn’t matter how many great ideas and insights you have. It doesn’t matter how long you talk. Our job is to plant seeds deeply at every opportunity.
Part of the secret to my mom’s process is patience. She knows that it takes times for seeds to germinate, even if all of the growth is beneath the surface and unseen to the rest of the world. If you plant deeply the seed of a new perspective for your audience, it may require time to germinate. They may have to go back into the real world with that new perspective to realize you were right and then make changes in their lives.
“The seeds you plant may have to percolate before they can germinate.”
With that in mind, in order to be heard, you must plant your ideas deeply and give both logical and emotional evidence to support them. Just as a seed needs water and the warmth of the sun, some people may see things right away, some may need one or the other, and some both. Others will need time to digest your new perspective. Some will need to actually apply your advice before they are fully convinced. Do you plant your ideas deep enough to take root?
This is why we say that it can take ten minutes to plant one perspective-changing, memorable point of wisdom. With very few exceptions, you can’t plant a deep seed quickly. That would be you speaking, but not being heard. I’ve heard speeches where people are trying to make four or five points in five-seven minutes. Yikes! That is like throwing a handful of seeds onto concrete and hoping one of them falls in a crack and takes root. Have you been guilty of that? I have.
The more you are heard, the more people will want to rebook you. The more you are heard, the more people will remember you. The more you are heard, the more people will want to follow you.
The more you are heard the more of a legacy you will leave. Plant deep.
Are you making any of these Top 10 Speaking Mistakes?