Finding Your Whys
Crafting the content for a speech is a critical part of your presentation. Before you begin, you need to know your whys. You can do this by answering three questions:
1. WHY DOES THE AUDIENCE CARE?
First, you need to let the audience know why they should care about listening to you. People have a lot going on in their lives. The internet is constantly flooded with information on things the public needs to care about. Why is what you are talking about worth paying attention to? Why is what you are saying worth turning off my own thoughts and concerns to focus on you?
Many people think they should put the why at the end of their speech, in their conclusion. I disagree. All the time and energy you spend leading up to your point, will be lost since I wasn’t paying attention. In the first minute of your talk, I need to know how your subject impacts me. Once I know that this is important, I will pay attention and listen to what you have to say.
2. WHY DO YOU CARE?
Second, you need to know why you care. This doesn’t mean there has to be a statement stating, “I care about this because.” Instead, this means the audience needs to see, notice and feel that you are passionate about your subject.
If it doesn't look like you care about what you’re saying, why should I care? I’m certainly not going to stop thinking about my own life and listen to what you have to say if you don’t even sound interested in it. However, if you are invested, focused, and passionate about sharing this information, I will know that it is worth listening to.
3. WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT NOW?
If you are giving a presentation, I need to know why I need to pay attention to you, right now. If I don’t know the urgency of it, I will just tune out and say, “I’ll worry about that later…” Why is what you are saying critical to listen to, and care about, right now? Is the information you are presenting a new way of thinking about things? Is this time sensitive? Is this a subject that is being overlooked and needs more attention? Is what you are talking about new and innovative? Tell me why, in this moment, your subject needs my focus.
There are times when your answers to these questions will overlap — that is fine. As long as the audience knows why your subject impacts them, that you care about the information and that they need to listen right now, you will grab the audience’s attention.
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Bri McWhorter is the Founder and CEO of Activate to Captivate.