Here’s the problem. Most speakers will spend hours and hours preparing their presentation and rarely prepare their mindset to connect with their audience.
It can be even worse! Have you ever given a presentation where you just didn’t feel connected? Many speakers blame it on the audience but the reality is most of the time a speaker needs to look in the mirror if he or she didn’t connect with the audience.
What can you do?
Actually, the answer is
Dear Fellow Speaker:
My name is Darren LaCroix, and in 2001 I out spoke 25,000 contestants from 14 countries to win the World Championship of Public Speaking. Though I had rehearsed and practiced tirelessly for over two months on one speech, one of the most important things I did was pull out of my pocket questions that I asked myself just before I took the stage. I still to this day ask myself the same questions before I take the stage. Creating the connection this way is crucial whether it is a high-paid keynote speech or working on a new story at my own Toastmaster club.
The moment you take the stage, your “mindset” is everything. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to be the ultimate expert. The audience will forgive almost any mistake, but they won’t forgive you if you’re not there for them. I’ve developed Four Crucial Questions I ask myself before I take the stage to make sure I connect with them. I’m proof they work. How powerful are these questions…?
Well, Ed Tate, the 2000 World Champion of Public Speaking, called me just before a big presentation and asked me to remind him what my famous four questions were.
After his presentation, Ed sent me a text message that said:
“Thank you for the four questions. I knocked it out of the park!
It was the World Championship of Public Speaking all over again.”
~ Ed Tate, 2000 World Champion of Public Speaking
I assume you are prepared. Sometimes, however, you may be put on the spot. No matter what, you need to be “in the moment.”
Even polished, well-practiced experts often don’t ‘connect’ to their audience because they think it’s about themselves. Those presenters are not there for their audience.
Since I carry my questions around with me a lot, I wanted have them with me on a laminated card so I did not have to create a piece of paper each time I present. Then I thought, “Hey, maybe others would want a card with these questions on it too.” That way you will conveniently have them with you, as well. These crucial questions will help you connect at every presentation for years to come. How much would that be worth to you?
Keep your MY CONNECT CARDTM in your pocket or on your person anytime you present. Take five minutes alone, away from distractions of the event where you are presenting. Pull out your CONNECT CARDTM and sincerely and slowly ask yourself these questions. Take at least ten seconds to reflect on each of them.
Whenever I teach presentation skills, I ask my students “What are you thinking five minutes before you present?”
I always hear comments like:
If asking my questions can just get you to not focus on the these types of worries, you will automatically connect deeper. Putting your energy towards the correct questions will reduce your speaking anxiety and enable you to be more in the moment. Speakers “in the moment” can be less polished and less prepared and still be appreciated more by their audiences. In fact, if you are connected to your audience, they will excuse many mistakes!
Your audience can “feel” your connection, or your lack of connection. The third question is the one I had in my pocket — that grounded me — before I won the World Championship of Public Speaking. If you don’t have fun, they won’t.
Early in my speaking career, I learned the final question from an amazing speaker, Willie Jolley. It was crucial to my early years when I was still developing my talents. Even now, it is still important to my delivery before I approach any audience.
Fellow World Champion, Craig Valentine, and I created this foundational phrase:
Speakers who connect deeper…
“WOW!…Your advice was great and helped a lot and I love the 4 questions
to ask myself before I hit the stage. I asked myself these things and then
I asked God to help me to accomplish these things for the audience.”
~ Jamey French, Keynote Speaker / Greenville, OH
“Hi Darren, I think this is great! I still have your questions on my dashboard and
I read them before I teach every one of my classes. I like the idea of carrying it with me.”
~ Charli Douglass, Fitness Expert / Las Vegas, NV
“I put MY CONNECT CARDTM in my wallet as soon as I got it!”
~ Craig Valentine, 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking
P.S. I still use these questions today! I created it for me, and I want to offer it to you, too!
Before important speeches
Before ANY presentation
Before a meeting with your boss
Before important conversations
Before a sales pitch to client
Before job interviews
Just to learn what the questions are is worth it! Now you can carry them with you.
Not just for you, they’re also PERFECT GIFTS for:
“Just got the Connect Card. Congratulations! You’ve done it again.
You’ve taken a key aspect of speaking, the 5 minutes before, and boiled it
down to its essential components. These four questions can be used
for sales situations, too. Every speaker who truly wants to
help his/her audience should own the Connect Card.”
~ Mike Davis, Professional Speaker
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