Would you like to connect deeper with your audience every time you present?
Here’s the problem. Most speakers will spend hours and hours preparing their presentation and rarely take the time to prepare their mindset just before they step in front of an audience. This is true whether it is a formal presentation, a one-on-one sales call, or even an interview.
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 quite simple!
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. How powerful are these questions…?
Well, Ed Tate, 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 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
How do you use these questions?
I assume you are prepared for your presentation. 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 do not ‘connect’ to their audience because they think it is 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 MY CONNECT CARDTM in your pocket every time you present. Take five minutes alone, away from any distractions. Then pull out card and sincerely and slowly ask yourself the questions on the card. Take at least ten seconds to reflect on each of them.
Why do my questions work?
Whenever I teach presentation skills, I ask my students “What are you thinking five minutes before you present?”
I always hear comments like:
- “I hope I don’t forget what I am going to say!”
- “I wish I had more time to prepare.”
- “Did I go to the bathroom?”
- “Please, don’t let me faint!”
- “What the heck am I doing?”
- “Is the microphone working?”
- “Will they like me?”
How about you? 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:
“Skill set, without mindset,
will leave your audience upset.”
Speakers who connect deeper with their audience will get more laughs, get referred more often, and simply have more fun every time!
What do speakers say about my 4 questions?
“WOW! Your advice was great and helped a lot and
I love the 4 questions to ask myself before I hit the stage.”
~ Jamey French, Keynote Speaker
“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
What are these powerful questions?
It is so crucial to understand the “why” before you get the how.
I created this powerful and simple card for myself, and for you if you want one, just go to: www.TheConnectCard.com.
Here are the questions for you:
1. What is my intent?
2. Am I present?
3. Will I have fun?
4. How would I give this presentation if I knew it was my last one ever?
The last one is the one I learned from a mentor, Willie Jolley, when I first started in the professional speaking world. It will ground you and bring you present if you truly reflect on it.
The audience will forgive many minor mistakes and some major. The one mistake they will not forgive is, if you are there for your ego rather than their insight. When people who compete in contests are there for the trophy, the audience can clearly sense it.
What will you ask yourself 5 minutes before you present?
Will you do this every time?
Sometimes you may feel you do not have time due to some technical issue. Can you see, that is exactly when you need to ask them the most?
2001 World Champion of Public Speaking
Here’s a video about MY CONNECT CARDTM
P.S. Get your MY CONNECT CARDTM here: www.TheConnectCard.com
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