Be a Sponge: Ah, But Did You Prove It? | Darren LaCroix

Be a Sponge: Ah, But Did You Prove It?

By Darren LaCroix | Sponge Articles

You know what you want to say. You know your perspective is helpful. You learned it the hard way, from experience. That’s perfect, almost. Unless your audience “gets it” you wasted their time and yours. 

Remember, when you and I are on stage we are presenting to people from all walks of life. They have greatly varying beliefs and perspectives. They bring a lifetime of experiences and skepticism to your presentation. We have to deal with that. If we truly care about are audience, we can’t just state our points and opinions, we have to prove it.

Consider this: 

“You have to prove your point in the court of the audience’s mind.”

Did you ever consider you have two roles when presenting? When we prepare and present we are both CSI Investigator and Prosecutor. We have to collect, discern and distill our evidence from our experience and research. Then, we need to deliver it in a compelling, clear manner. The skeptical voices of the jury in the audience’s mind need to be unanimously convicted of your perspective. 

This can be an even bigger challenge if we don’t properly prepare our case by considering different learning styles. In most audiences we have our analytical types who need the data and want to know your source as well. This is why I suggest on your slides containing data, to list the source in italics at bottom of the slides. Trust me, the data divas in your audience will notice it. If it is not there, they may even cross their arms, lean back and discount everything else you say. You will also have emotional learners who want to hear the story and visual learners who need to see the “process visuals” or “infographics” so they can more easily grasp your concept.

There are also seasoned pros in our audience who may have more experience in this area than you. We also have new people who have very little experience and need hope. At our Master Workshops we give attendees name plates so that we can read their names from the stage, and on the back they see reminder images of the different people in their audience. This is so they consider what they need from their presentation. (Google search that if you want to go deeper about learning styles.)

How? If we care about our audience impact, for each major point we also want to bring in our three most compelling pieces of evidence. One is not enough. This is why we need to collect all of our evidence, analogies, stats and create infographics. We won’t have time to present all of our evidence, so we need to narrow it down to our very best. We need to lead with the most convincing. When we properly prepare and consider the different learning styles, we will plead our best case. Each of your pieces of evidence will point back to this one point. I refer to this as a chunk. I’m a visual learner, so I love images like this that help visually communicate my point.

With the opportunity to get applause comes some pressure. If we ignore this idea, we are ignoring the barrier between the change and inspiration we wish to bring our audience. Several mentors tell me that we are responsible to our audience not for our audience. For example, I had an internal challenge when I created my program Get Paid to Speak by Next Week®. Although I loved the title, part of me struggled with the fact that not everyone will get paid to speak by going through the program. They won’t all do the work, or they may try and shortcut the process I give them. Several people have been paid to speak because of the program. I have to provide the process, but I can’t make them do the necessary work. I’m responsible to the audience not for them. This is why I created my business mastery program, so they get my program, and they can get mentoring as well. Please give your audience what they need, but let go of any guilt that every single person will achieve their own desired results.

Just because you and I say it, doesn’t mean they walk away with our message. We need to prove it. That’s our job when we get the privilege to influence. Remember both your roles; when you prepare to be on stage, you are investigator and when you walk on stage you are the prosecutor. What can you do now? Set the intention to be better at both roles. Then, when you are on stage, go prove your point in the jury of the audience’s mind!

What do you take from this?

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What are the secrets, stories and strategies behind Unforgettable Presentations? Find out. Listen to Darren’s Brand New Podcast.