Have you ever felt like the way you’re communicating to people isn’t really landing? If you put your information out in a variety of ways, addressing many learning styles, in a structured, distilled way…it makes a huge difference. Here are 10 tips for captivating your listener, ensuring they remember what you say so they take action on your message.
2:30 – What ways of sharing information that put people to sleep
4:45 – 10 ways of sharing information that engage all 4 styles of communication
19:50 – 4 case studies of how this information improved a speaker’s success
27:15 – 5 delivery tips
The Heart of Presenting – Book as PDF download
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Storytelling in Business – Online Course
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This is Ep 87 – HOW TO CAPTIVATE YOUR LISTENERS. Have you ever felt like the way you’re talking to people, or what you’re saying isn’t really landing? Here are 5 tips for captivating your listener and ensuring they remember what you say. Hi, I’m Carla Rieger and this is the MindStory Speaker podcast.
Here’s a quiz question for you. What percentage of people who communicate in a group or business setting [I mean like being on video, running a meeting, doing strategy or coaching sessions 1-to-1]….how many of them have done any formal training in how to engage and educate adult learners. So would you say it’s 12%, 35% or 66%? What’s your guess?
According to the research, it’s actually only 12%. Now, early on in my career, I took an in depth training in how to engage adult learners, and was blown away by how much it made a difference. When you learn how to be a teacher of children, you’re expected to understand different learning styles and to get creative with how you share information. But if you’re talking to adults then, unless you’re an adult learning professional, you get no training in this. For example, business leaders, professors, coaches, group facilitators. Very few get any training. And then they wonder why they’re listeners zone out or don’t understand what they’re trying to say.
But a little training goes a long way. If you put your information out in a specific way, in a certain structure, in a certain learning style, with a varied delivery where you’re switching up content and deliver often…it makes a huge difference. And many people just don’t know that. They just say, well, how hard can it be? And they just get out there and start trying to talk to people. And they clearly are not making an impact. And then they notice it’s not landing and so they get nervous, which makes them worse.
There are ways of sharing information that put people to sleep such as only using complex concepts, or captivating them by, say, using a variety of ways. For example, people remember metaphors in a way they don’t remember just plain concepts. So to differente a concept is “it helps to share your information in a variety of ways” add a metaphor to that and it might sound like this. “Maybe you’ve seen a prism before, or have one hanging in a window somewhere. When light hits a prism, it goes in one end as white light and comes out the other end is a rainbow of colors. It’s your job as a communicator to take the raw information you want to share and present it in a myriad of colorful ways, so that’s meaningful for your listener.” So it is a few more sentences, but people will remember that and “get” what you’re trying to say in a better way.
People have shorter and shorter attention spans these days. But you probably don’t need me to tell you that. We are bombarded with social media, television, websites, billboards, phone calls, chats every day all day long and millions and millions of dollars are put into sales and advertising budgets to capture eyeballs on their stuff. So you are competing with that. One thing you have going for you, however, is that you are a person and not a machine. You have a heart and a soul and you can care about people and customize things for people and create meaning for them in a way that big corporations never can.
So the goal of this episode is to discover new ways to captivate your listeners so that they take action on your message. Whether you run meetings, do 1-to-1 strategy sessions, talk on video, lead webinars, or type into group posts, the WAY you communicate can make or break your effectiveness. If people remember your message they’re more likely to buy into your ideas, be motivated by your message to action, try your products or services.
And the way to captivate your listeners is to appeal to many different learning styles. For simplicity’s sake I’ll refer back to the DANCE Communication and Speaker Style Personality Profiling System I taught in episode 24 of this podcast. Let’s say there are four basic ways people communicate and learn in the human story, and a fifth blended style. So there are many other ways than four, but let’s say at the core of things, we can distill it down to 4. I call them D for Demonstrator, A for Assertor, N for Narrator and C for Contemplator. The fifth is the blended style known as E for Expert, or DANCE for short. A quick summary is that Demonstrators are very demonstrative. They just gesticulate a lot. They’ve got very direct and fast paced energy, are informal, outgoing and people oriented and tend to be right brain dominant. Assertors are also outgoing, direct and fast paced but more task oriented, formal and reserved, They also tend to be left brain dominant. Narrators are more indirect and have a slower or more sustained pace of movement and energy, are informal and people oriented like demonstrators but more introverted. They are often great with one to one or small group socializing and are warm hearted and empathic. Contemplators have a more sustained pace of movement and energy, but are more formal, task oriented, reserved and left brained. People tend to communicate in a way that they would appreciate, and teach in a way that they learn. If we say that, in the general population, each of these four styles represents 25% of the population, that can mean you’re only appealing to 25% if you stick to your style. That’s great if you’re talking 1-to-1 to someone with the same style, but what if you have a variety of listeners.
So in general Demonstrators like high energy, listener participation and inspirational action packed stories. They don’t care so much about concepts, facts or stats.
So for example I did a quick quiz a few minutes ago, where I asked you to pick a percentage of people who’ve learned what helps adults learn. It moves the conversation from a one way, with you putting out content, to asking your listener to respond. Even if you’re not face to face and they’re listening to a replay, people want to answer a question when asked, they almost can’t help themselves. Their brain wakes up and they start to look for an answer.
They also might like a rhetorical question, meaning it’s just a question your listener may ask in their head. So, here’s one for you…Are you an artist? Think about it. If we were face to face would you answer yes, no, maybe, not sure? Many years ago I asked the question –are you an artist — to group of kindergarten students — how many hands you think went up? Now I’m asking you another rhetorical question…Did you answer it in your head? You probably said…All of them. That’s true. All of the children put their hand up. When we are young children we are allowed full expression of our artistic nature. Then the older the person is the more the hands come down when asked that question. It’s like, unless you do a fine art and are really good at it, you can no longer call yourself an artist. However…
Pablo Picasso – here’s a quote From Pablo Picasso, the great 20th century artist – I think it’s great to use quotes. We are all born artists. The trick is to recapture that artist is the adult and put it into our life’s work. So, I challenge you to put the “inner artist” or inner creative person into your communications. You will stand out, even if you speak on so-called dry or technical topics…especially in those cases…you should.
So I believe we are all born highly creative and we are aching to express that creativity in all that we do. But if you don’t use your creativity. Let’s use a metaphor here again….
Say an orange was a symbol of your creative potential. What can happen if you don’t use it, consume it, he just let it sit there? You can get kind of moldy. And I think that’s one reason people are attracted to leadership roles, or being an expert in your field like a coach, educator, speaker, author, etc. because it requires you to be a lot more creative than a lot of other roles out there. So that is an important thing to keep in mind when you are communicating with people, is to keep it as creative as possible. Because if you don’t, you can lose people.
Quizzes are great because they also appeal to Contemplators and Assertors who like facts and stats. Here’s another quiz type question, what is the average adult attention span? Would you say an hour, 15 minutes, 1 minute? According to statistics, the average adult attention span is actually only 7 seconds. Every 7 seconds you take a mental break. You think about something else
In fact you could be actually taking a mental break right now!
As Chip Heath, author of the best-selling book, Made to Stick….said – the first problem of communication is getting people’s attention.
But also as Philip Randolph once said – it’s easy to get people’s attention, what counts is getting their interest.
So let’s look at brain dominance, Some people are, more left brain dominant and some are more right brain dominant. As I mentioned, Assertors and Contemplators tend to be Left brain dominant. They think in logical, sequential, rational, analytical, objective, ways. Right brained people, like Narrators and Demonstrators, tend to think in more random, intuitive, holistic subjective, synthesizing kinds of ways.
But, of course we all use both sides of the brain all the time, it’s just that some people lead with their left brain and other people lead with the right brain. Now this is a very simplistic view of the brain, but it will serve our purposes for understanding how different people will be viewing your communication, your speaking. And since it’s about 50-50 in the general population….you need to include both left brain and right brain ways of sharing information.
So, types of communication modes that appeal to the left brain, or Contemplator and Assertor types.
Concepts, benefits, features, theories. Most new presenters do their entire presentation using these kinds of communication modes and there are two reasons not to do this. Number one is that people don’t remember them, and number two is it’s harder for people to get and stay engaged. Of course, you still need to include them like,
a home-based business can mean tax savings – this is a theory or premise of your presentation perhaps. But then you need to follow it up with other things that will support that theory.
Facts and statistics really appeal to left brain people. According to a study done in 2013, the direct selling industry earned US$178 billion worldwide. That’s a fact. A statistic would be, people who rate highly for happiness on psychological tests developed about 50% more antibodies when dealing with the flu virus. So happier people tend to be healthier people.
So other things that appeal to left brained people, especially Assertors, are the provocative question, a bit different from the rhetorical question. For example, if you don’t change anything about your life now, where would you be financially in five years? Assertors tend to like Challenges like this… If you spent 10 hours a week reaching out to qualified prospects I bet you could double your income in three months – who is willing to try that? Prizes are involved.
Contemplators like Logical arguments. For every one thing in your life that seems to be going wrong, chances are they’re 1000 things going right.
Restating. Another way of putting it is – most people tend to focus too much on what’s going wrong in life and forget to be grateful for all the wonderful things happening.
Assertors and Contemplators really appreciate when you give a structure to your communication. They don’t like interruptions, going off topic. They like you to introduce what you’re going to say, say it, and then Summarize what you just said. So, to summarize what I’m saying here, it is important that you present material in a variety of modalities that are interesting and digestible for all four basic communication and learning styles.
Narrators and Demonstrators appreciate more Right brain modes of communicating
Comparisons, contrasts, examples, questions, Poems, humorous anecdotes, metaphors, stories tend to work better for them.
Comparisons (E .g . People who speak while standing behind a podium tend to have less connection to their audience than those who don’t .)
Contrasts (E .g . A speaker from Canada who was at an international conference in Switzerland described the province of Ontario as the size of France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria put together .)
Examples (E .g . For some people, multi-tasking has become an art form . For example, I have a friend who can simultaneously buy groceries and negotiate a million-dollar deal on her cell phone, while removing bubble gum from her daughter’s hair .)
Stories – this could be your personal signature story. I’ve got a book and an online course on Storytelling in Business if you want more background on this. See the shownotes for more info. Also, a case study of a success story in your area of expertise, or even a mythical tale, or made up story that illustrates your point.
Jokes (E .g . Two Eskimos are sitting in a kayak and were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft . It sank proving once again that you can’t have your kayak and heat it, too .) I know that’s bad. Here’s another one, Why is 6 afraid of 7? Because 7, 8, 9. That’s a cute kid’s joke. So, you’d choose your humor based on your audience. Humor is very personal, yet there is a type of humor that is more universal. I have a whole section on Humor in my book The Heart of Presenting, which you can see more info on in the shownotes.
Quotes (Anthony de Mello once said, “Why don’t you see goodness and beauty everywhere? Because you cannot see outside of you what you fail to see inside .” .)
Anecdotes – According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an anecdote is a short narrative of an interesting, amusing, or biographical incident . Stories are usually longer and take more than a minute or two to tell .
Similes A simile is a figure of speech in which two essentially unlike things are compared, often in a phrase introduced by like or as. (E .g . “How like the winter hath my absence been” — Shakespeare) .
So here’s some examples of how this worked for people. I coached. So I worked with one man who I would call a dominant Contemplator. So he had created a workflow system in his company that was amazing before any of the digital ones, like Asaua came online and it was so successful that all these other companies wanted to hire him.
So he left his job and he became like a consultant. At one point, he didn’t quite have enough clients. So he needed to market himself. That just felt horrible to him. So we chatted and I suggested he create an education-based marketing webinar. So he tried it on his own at first, without my help, and sent it to me. It wasn’t converting. He just kind of talked on video, no slides, just as a talking head kind of geeking out about the software, but he was kind of dry with how he spoke. And he was kind of monotone and he just talked in really technical and complex ways and people turned off the video early on. And so we worked together to make it applicable to especially decision-makers in companies who are often demonstrator or assertor types, so we needed to add some stories, some examples to ground it. And also we needed to talk about how it’s gonna affect the bottom line, which would often appeal to, Assertors who are often in a leadership role.
And with him, he just sort of freaked out when the green light from the webcam came on him and he was like a deer in the headlights. So I said, let’s not do video. You can do virtual speaking without your face on screen. It can just be your voice narrating with screen capture of your slides. And he felt so relieved. He was very good at the logical progression. And so that was excellent. We just added in the stories and examples. And then we added in the reasons why he would save the company a lot of money and added some intonation to his voice. He was good in that he created a whole transcript so he could read it, but we worked on intonation and modulation of his voice, putting some excitement in there. And then he edited it down and distilled it, and got feedback on it, problem solving and working out the kinks which is a strong trait of Contemplators. And he really polished the diamond until he got it right. And then he put it out on social media and to his list, and did some ads. And that evergreen webinar brought him so much business for years to come – just the same one. And it would lead to them doing a consult call with him. And then a certain percentage of those would turn into business.
And then I had a client who was a very strong Demonstrator. She was used to speaking on really big live stages, where she was all over the stage and was very intense. And that worked when she was speaking a live stage in front of a thousand people. But when the pandemic hit and she had to do online presentations, it became a bit much to be like that where she’s got the intense music playing and she’s jumping up and down and clapping people were like, Whoa, because when you’re doing a video or you’re not talking to a large crowd of people, you’re talking to one person looking at their device, right. So you have to actually talk to them like as one person.
So I helped changed that with her and because she was so good at inspirational storytelling, playing music and but putting like characters into it, doing act outs, different accents, we just totally used that strength of hers as a kind of stand up comic, but for the small screen. You know, it’s kind of like if you’ve ever done acting in a play to a large audience, as opposed to film, you have to dial it down to more subtle gestures. And so we did that with her. And again, she did a bunch of short videos, really funny and put them on social media that would lead to people, getting on her list and getting interested in her coaching and paid speaking.
And I had an Assertor speaker who was very confident and authoritative about leadership and he really demonstrated the style of leadership he was talking about. But again, when the pandemic hit and he had to go from the big stage down to sort of a small, you know, one to one on video, he had to change his style. And he was often talking to people who were leaders. So they appreciated that style, but he wanted to branch out into more of the emotional intelligence side of leadership. And that meant attracting a different type of person. So not necessarily an assertor maybe a narrator, a demonstrator type who were very much into the whole emotional intelligence thing. So again, we needed to include stories, not just make it all concepts. We needed to balance the concepts and the facts and the science and the logical arguments with examples, stories, comparisons, and interactive elements. That led to virtual speaking at conferences, lots of interview with leaders of big groups of influencers which led to him doing many group coaching programs.
And I had a Narrator speaker who loved helping people online but didn’t like being THE authority with everyone else focusing their attention on her. That made her feel uncomfortable. So together we redesigned her business whereby she formed and facilitated masterminds of leaders in business. So they were small group zoom meetings where she enrolled people, built community between them, created a safe space, and facilitated them helping each other grow in their respective businesses. They paid her a fee to be part of that, and she did all the planning and facilitating.
That way she wasn’t the star speaker, but rather led facilitated meetings where everyone got to talk and connect. And that was a way that she actually monetized her business not only terms of them giving her a fee to join, but she was a coach so several of them hired her as a private coach or to coach their employees, because she’d built the like, know, and trust factor by facilitating this group so well.
In terms of delivery when communicating your varied content, here’s some quick tips. If you’ve ever listened to your own voice and you don’t like it, or someone has told you it’s hard to listen to, chances are, you’re sounding nasal. I notice my voice can go like that if I get stressed, if I’m not in my body, if I’m not relaxed.
So the chest voice is much easier to listen to because it’s lower and more resonant. That said, it’s good to vary your voice and do different kinds of modulations, but you just don’t want to stay in one sort of staccato nasal voice the whole time you’ll drive people crazy. There’s so many tutorials on YouTube, just how to get into your chest voice. You can try something now. Just say the word “chest voice”, and direct it to your chest and you’ll feel your chest vibrate. And if you say “nasal voice” and direct that to your nose, you’ll feel your nose vibrate. So that’s a way to test yourself. Just speak how you normally speak and notice if your head or your nose or both vibrate.
So, a final tip is stop being someone you’re not. You know how people watch another person and try to imitate them when they address a group. It’s normal to do that in the beginning but it will come across as inauthentic. All that said, some people don’t realize they’re being someone they’re not they’re being inauthentic.
And you know, there’s always these well-meaning people that say, Hey, just be yourself out there or on the video. And that’s really a lifetime’s job is to learn, to be yourself, is to peel off the layers of falsities or personality programs that we learn over the years. And yet people who are authentic when they speak are just so rare and so important. People appreciate them so much. And that’s why on the MindStory podcast, I focus so much on the inner game like self-forgiveness and avoiding the people pleasing. For example, two people can talk on the exact same subject and one will win over crowd. And one won’t. For example, I saw a speaker recently, two speakers on the same topic of emotional intelligence, and one of them totally embodied emotional intelligence and the other didn’t. The more you develop yourself inside the more you’ll make a difference for people just by who you are being.
So, if you enjoyed listening to this podcast, and want to discover your DANCE Virtual Speaker Personality Style just go to www.ArtistryofChange.com.
So, that’s it for now. Do post a review of this podcast if you liked it. It really helps other listeners find the podcast. Here’s a quick and easy way to do it. Just go to: https://ratethispodcast.com/speaker. You’ll also see that link in the shownotes. And hit subscribe if you want to hear about other episodes coming up, which you can do on our website MindStoryAcademy.com\podcast. https://mindstoryacademy.com/Podcast Until next time, I’m Carla Rieger. Thank you for listening.