How to communicate anything to anyone

Why is that the same speech can get standing ovations by a raving crowd and only invokes polite applause when delivered to a different group of people? It might have something to do with the fact that you simply fail to address each of the 4 essential questions which make a magnificent speech. Let me explain.

Our brain is a goal seeking machine. Because of the sensory bombardment assaulting us every second, it operates with specific filters. These filters determine if new information is relevant or can be dismissed. If we want to communicate new information effectively to others, we have to find a way to bypass these filters. How can we do this?

What we know is that each of us absorbs information using one of four information transfer mechanisms. These mechanisms are called ‘learning styles’ and take the form of critical questions in the conscious mind. These questions must be answered to make new information relevant. Understanding these ‘learning styles’ is especially important when we want to communicate new ideas effectively to (larger) audiences in presentations, training sessions and workshops.

If, for instance, you happen to speak about the power of visualization, each audience member will have one of the following 4 questions floating in their mind.

Why is this information relevant to me? This is the learning style of the ‘philosophers’ and covers 35% of your listeners in a typical audience. We can reach the ‘philosophers’ by quickly connecting to the WIIFM (What Is In It For Me?) question. For example: ‘If you understand the power of visualization, you achieve your goals much easier.’

What is the principle behind this idea? This is the learning style of the ‘scientists’ and covers 20% of your listeners. We can reach the ‘scientists’ by explaining the process and the methodology behind the new idea. Use logic to make your point. For example: ‘Visualization is effective, because it triggers the subconscious mind to become aware of people, ideas and circumstances that can help you to achieve your goal.’

What are the steps involved to use this idea? This is the learning style of the ‘engineers’ and covers 20% of your listeners. We can reach the ‘engineers’ by communicating a recipe with practical steps to apply the idea. Providing a checklist is very effective. For example: ‘These are the 4 steps to effectively use visualization. Step 1:…’

How can I use this idea to improve my life? This is the learning style of the ‘entrepeneurs’ and covers 25% of the listeners. We can reach the ‘entrepeneurs’ by applying the new idea to solve an actual problem. An audience exercise is great for making this happen. For example: ‘Let’s now use visualization to find creative ways to increase revenue in our current business…’

You will only reach everyone in the audience when you answer all 4 questions. For maximum impact, make sure to answer these questions in the above sequence.

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