Ep. 129 Single Story, Multiple Messages
You tell your ‘signature story’ and you’re confident that your audience will get your message…or will they? Today Mark and Darren explore how a story may send a message that can differ significantly from the one that we intend. They also offer solid suggestions for discovering and using the different messages effectively, to make your presentation unforgettable.
- When you change your emphasis, you can change your message
- Ask a test audience what message they receive. You may get a new message.
- Your message will be clear if your story is well told.
- Resurrect an old story and uncover a new message
- Listen to your stories from the perspective of your audience
- Don’t abandon your original message, but find ways to use the new message
Want to Learn More about Public Speaking
Last year at one of my Toastmaster meetings I gave a speech that I called “Don’t Talk, Communicate”. While I was listening to my evaluator I got the message that she was telling me, that my speech had come across to her, as though I was talking to a little child. She is not a little child she is an adult.
When I read her written evaluation the message I got was that the ‘talking to a little child” aspect of my speech was only at the start of my speech, and not all the way through.
So from this, would you agree that when we receive evaluations, we should then talk to our evaluators later – and check with them if the message we have received from that particular evaluation, is the message they were sending?
Thanks for the question. As I say, “The most important part of a presentation is the thought process in the listener’s mind.” We should not just ask for feedback, we should crave it. How else can we make it clearer for next time. Rarely will a message be clear the first time we deliver it. If you are serious, you must seek out world-class feedback. I love Toastmasters, but the evaluators are not trained at a world-class level. Use Toastmasters for sure, while thinking beyond Toastmasters if you have a message that matters and wish to change the world.
Hope that helps,
Darren and Mark
Thank you so much for your Single Story, Multiple Messages podcast.
In 1997, I won the D70 level of the International Speech Contest with a speech titled The True Communication. The message was that the TRUE communication is not the message you INTENDED to deliver but rather the message that is RECEIVED by the other person. If that is not the message you intended, you need to be aware of that and take steps to clarify your message.
Your podcast opened my eyes to the possibility that different people may receive different messages from the same speech because of their experiences or their mindsets at the time.
At Stage Time! club in Sydney, we have 20 minute feedback sessions for speakers rather than a single 2 minute evaluation, and often several messages emerge from the listeners. I used to pay little enough attention to this part of the feedback but I see now from your podcast that this feedback is much more important than I previously considered.
Thank you so much for this insight.