How To Resonate with your Audience in Presentations
On the last episode of the Platform Giant Show, Todd Henry and I talked about finding your voice. On this episode I continue my conversation with Todd as we explore committing to the path, mentorship and empathy.
A Lesson in Committing to the Path
The late summer sun can be unforgiving in the middle of the United States
By the time we had finished our 10th wind sprint in full gear we understood THAT truth.
I played football in high school which meant before the rest of the students came back from summer break about 100 of us were out in the sweltering summer sun practicing for the upcoming football season.
“One more for the girls!”
That’s what the coach would yell at us when we wanted to give up. It was his way of reminding us that in HIS system if you wanted the privilege of playing in front of the community, your school mates and your girlfriend on Friday night, you had to earn it by preparing yourself now.
We had committed ourselves to a path. A path that was difficult and lonely because not everyone was willing to do what we did. Not everyone was willing to lift weights all summer long. Not everyone was willing to put on a helmet and shoulder pads and hurl themselves into each other when it was 99 degrees outside (that’s about 37 degrees Celsius). But we were, because we believed there would be a payoff later on.
On today’s podcast, Todd Henry reminded us the love of comfort is often the enemy of greatness. It seems that my high school football coach and Todd knew the same thing:
Looking back, I’m sure my high school football coach would have much rather been sitting back in an air conditioned office than outside in the oppressive heat yelling at a bunch of teenage boys. But there he was… out there… trying to teach us something important that we could use later in life. We didn’t know it then, but he was helping us grow.
He was mentoring us. We didn’t realize it at the time, but something else Todd talked about was happening. Our head coach and his staff were acting as mentors to us. We had unwittingly signed up to surround ourselves with a group of men who were acting as an outside voice, giving us feedback about what was working, what wasn’t and what we could do better.
Our coaches were both lasers and light houses – pointing us in the right direction and warning us about danger ahead.
When I think back, I had in place what Todd Henry advocated – A network of Advisors who to help me find my way and discover my potential.
Todd said we need to find trusted people in our lives who can help us take calculated risks. People who can identify what we’re good at. He said we need a network of people. Going it alone is a recipe for disaster.
But just as we benefit from such a network we need to be part of that network for others. How do we make sure they listen to us?
Todd said we have to learn the art and skill of empathy. He reminded us that empathy starts with the decision to be empathetic. It requires us to consciously tap into our own feelings and consider what someone else is going through and then taking action in accordance with our own emotions.
The need to be understood is a basic emotion to every human being. The better we are at demonstrating empathy for our audience the more our voice will resonate with them and the stronger our connection will be.
In fact Todd said that our best chance of connecting with our audience sets at the intersection of
- Identity– What we care about
- Vision – What our audience cares about
- Context – The ideas in our culture that are familiar to our audience and already have traction
If you’d like to learn more about finding your voice, I highly recommend all of Todd’s books but in particular Louder Than Words. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year and if you liked what Todd said on episodes 63 and 64, I have a feeling you’ll feel the same way I do about this book.
Until next time this is Shane Purnell reminding you what Todd Henry said,
Our voice isn’t just what WE say. It’s what other people hear