January 24, 2023
A Magnetic Message
Take a quick moment and think about the powerful and persuasive speeches you’ve heard. Whether it be from a business leader sharing their unique perspectives and philosophies, or an inspirational moment spoken from a character at that pivotal moment in a movie. What typically made these resounding dialogues connect with you included a tailored message fulfilling a need their audience is in search of, and a magnetic delivery matching the energy required to motivate their captivated audience.
Investing in the time to analyze the audience’s needs is a critical step in tailoring a meaningful message. The more you can genuinely connect with your audience, the more effective your message will resonate, inspiring your audience to take the actions, or reactions, your message is aiming for.
Preparing your message involves more than forecasting, developing themes, and writing the script. The first step toward delivering an effective message is to develop your overall strategy and identify which communication (both verbal and non-verbal) methods to use.
Delivering a resonating message requires practice. Think of this as your opportunity to beta-test your process to identify and correct any “bugs” or undesired outcomes. Continue to rehearse your presentation until you’re comfortable and familiar with the nuances of the content. The more you become comfortable with what you’re saying, the words in your message will become more authentic to your audience as-well-as providing yourself a level of comfort and lessen potential anxiety.
It may sound cliché but practicing your speech in front of a mirror is a prime opportunity to literally see your nonverbal communication, body language and any of your subconscious mannerisms. If you find watching yourself perform live in front of the mirror as being too anxiety provoking, video recording yourself and studying the footage is also a powerful tactic. And if watching footage of yourself is still too intimidating, having an audio recording can be a good starting point. Recording yourself provides a powerful opportunity to “break character” and record any verbal notes or feedback to better enhance your delivery.
Some key-points to keep in mind as you study your rehearsals are:
Keep in mind as you prepare for a live presentation, whether it’s in-person or online, that you are less in control of the flow, rhythm, and timing of your delivery.
Although you may not be able to fully identify all of your audience’s potential questions, concerns, or comments, it’s imperative to anticipate what may be asked so you can practice how you’ll respond. As you encounter a question that you don’t have an immediate answer for, be honest. Responding with:
“Good question. I’m not 100% sure so I’ll look into it and get back to you with an answer or find the right person who can answer your question” is far better than out-right dismissing their concern. If you do use an answer to this effect, you absolutely must get back to them, even if it’s answer they may not want to hear. Likewise, if the answer is one that more time to research may be required, circle back to them with a status update. “Say what you’ll do and do what you say.” If not, you will likely damage the trust and rapport with that person and your audience.
Avoid Falling Into The Empathy Gap
Before we go further into preparing the delivery of your message, this is an ideal place to learn about Empathy Gaps and how to avoid from falling into them. An Empathy Gap is a Cognitive Bias where one develops judgements based on their personal viewpoints rather than considering and internalizing the points-of-view of others.
A common assumption from Managers is, as their employees’ compensation goes up, so too will their work productivity, motivation, and overall job satisfaction. While money is a great way for organizations to demonstrate how they value their employees, it may also be missing-the-mark of what their employees truly value.
A Mindset-Survey we conducted asked teams the question: “The area that my Leader excels and genuinely supports me is:”
The top-3 responses the teams said their Leader genuinely supports them were:
- Honors Personal-Time
- Actively Supports Stretch-Goals
- Actionable Positive and Opportunistic Feedback
These leaders were not exclusively focused on the steps on how to improve developmental opportunities, but also provided specific positive and opportunistic feedback, promoting the use of the Team’s individual and unique skillsets. This, in turn, was then applied by the teams as they created new product & service enhancements and solving business solutions.
Providing organizations proactive solutions to avoid falling into the Empathy Gap may likely not be that difficult to find. In fact, employees more-than-often provide the tangible actions and behaviors they seek from their leaders, peers, and even from themselves.
“Minding” The Empathy Gap
So how do you ensure that you don’t fall into the depths of the Empathy Gap? First, bring it into your sphere-of-awareness. Whether you’re in the moment of a conversation and find yourself making judgements, or are utilizing reflective mental-exercises to assess your interactions throughout your day, or even being proactive by applying your imagination to “notice” how others may likely respond to your words, becoming aware of your empathy pitfalls is the first step towards adjusting your actions.
After you raise your awareness, the next step is to gain feedback from those affected by your words or actions. And in the instances where you’re in the moment of delivering your message to your audience, you may receive the feedback in real-time. Depending on how wide the Empathy Gap is will determine the responding feedback. Assessing your Empathy Gap can be an uncomfortable task at times, but it’s crucial to acknowledge the complexity of differing points-of-view to adjust what is needed to gain genuine trust with your audience.
Messages Aimed To Motivate Your Audience
Remember, the factors which motivate and inspire you may not be what motivates others (and can possibly do more harm than help). It’s imperative that you understand your audience to have your message make a genuine and positive impact.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare your motivational message:
- First impressions truly matter. Your opening statements set the trajectory of your message. If you’re not cognizant of this, you may lose the trust of your audience regardless of how on-point the rest of your message is. Be deeply familiar with the topic you’re discussing or risk losing your credibility.
- Your message must address the question “What’s in it for them?” Asking yourself this question will assist in the design of a genuine message. Recognize and address the link between how your audience will be affected by the current issue or the need for a change in your message.
- What role do the individuals in the audience play? Be specific and illustrate the impact they have. Provide examples of this correlation highlighting some of the benefits or impeding barriers.
- Provide an action plan. Since you’ve already addressed the “Who”, “What”, “Where”, and “Why”, share with your audience the “How” and “When” of the actions needed to successfully achieve the goals identified in your message. See our blog on Purpose, Process, Output (PPOs) to learn ways to structure your presentation.
- Plan and Practice. Provide yourself ample time to prepare and deliver your message. Practice your presentation to gain insight on where you may need to adjust.