Looking for a simple approach to making killer content for your blog? Or are you attempting to design a motivational speech for your squad? In this article, I cover an easy way to create content your audience will love. The technique works equally well whether you are speaking verbally (in a speech) or in writing.
The secrets to great communication are similar whether you are speaking or writing.
In 2000, I partnered with a lecturer from Dallas who had landed a big contract to take leadership training for a national professional association. It was a big break for me because even though I had done well in my first few years as an inspirational speaker, clients were still hard to find back then. When he and I first spoke, he mentioned that he had written a public speaking book that was in the final stages of editing.
Since my specialty was class content design, I built a full presentation class to complement the book. From time to time, I asked him questions about the book, and he always answered me saying: “It’s almost ready.
Two years later, he was still…almost ready. I finally realized that the book was probably never going to be finished. In desperation, I decided that if I wanted to have a good, well-written textbook for my class, I should write it myself.
I learned to write out of necessity.
At that time, I had never written anything other than essays in school. But, I figured, whether you’re communicating via speech or via written text, the goal is always the same. You want to communicate important ideas in a way that your audience (or readers) can retain the information, and you also need to make that communication to some extent enjoyable so that your readers or listeners continue to give istanbul escort attention.
So, out of necessity, I sat down at my computer and wrote the book Fearless Presentations. The whole procedure from beginning to end took me less than three weeks.
This episode will explain the step-by-step process I followed and how you can use the same process to create unlimited content for motivational speeches, keynotes, and blog posts.
Identify a Specific Challenge You Can Help Your Audience Solve
The most important starting point in content design is identifying what the audience wants or needs to know. There’s no point in designing great content if no one cares.
I’m a huge fan of the hit TV series, Shark Tank. Every season there are products pitched by guests who did not complete this important first step. Linda Holmes highlighted a few in her Step Right Up article published on NPR.
in the knees. Sound can be a great way to keep an eye on your newly mobile baby. However, I suspect most parents would go nuts over the constant squeak, squeak, squeak.
Another argument was a service that will send you FedEx tags for your luggage to avoid airline baggage fees. To use the service, you need to plan so they can send you the tags before your flight. Then you need to drop off your luggage at a FedEx store on the way to the airport. Oh, and by the way, you’d pay around $90 per bag (to avoid the $25 airport fee).
This is a golf club that allows a male golfer to relieve himself on the golf course without having to interrupt play by finding one of those inconvenient washrooms. I added real and actual advertising.
The thing is, the one thing each of these entrepreneurs has forgotten is that for a product, service, or idea to be popular, it must meet a customer’s need. So how can I find these challenges?
Simple ways to identify customer or client challenges
I’ve added some easy ways to identify specific challenges your customers or potential customers might be having.
ASK THEM! When interacting with a client or customer, ask them what keeps them up at night. If you have a good relationship with them, they’ll probably tell you.
Ask your sales reps. Ask your sales reps to compile a list of the questions most frequently asked by their customers or potential customers. What are those questions they answer repeatedly in calls and meetings?
Look at the comments in your social media posts. Encourage your social followers to give you feedback, and they’ll often give you great ideas for topics and content.
Check out your competitors’ websites, blog posts, and social media feeds.
If you give speeches and presentations, add a question-and-answer session to the agenda.
The easiest way, however, is to simply put yourself in the audience member’s shoes.
When I started writing the book, Fearless Presentations, I didn’t have much time to do a lot of market research. So, I just tried to imagine myself as a stage frightened person. (It wasn’t hard to do because I had been that person a decade before that moment.) I made a list of all the different things that a person might struggle with. Once I got the list, I got every chapter in the book.
After being in the speaking business for nearly two decades, I have continued to bring promising young motivational speakers into my classes and/or apply for teaching positions at my company. They often asked me how to design a good opening or motivational speech.
At the time, I had done quite a few motivational speeches, but that wasn’t how I made a living as a result, I got back and learned some of the inspiring speakers who motivated me. I discovered some fascinating models.
Zig Ziglar and Paul Harvey were two of the most fantastic storytellers of the modern era. I think their ability to captivate audiences with detailed stories made them two of the most sought-after speakers in the 1970s and 1980s.
Another hero of mine, Brian Tracy, has a way of taking stories and mixing analogies and metaphors (more on that later) to dramatize his presentation.
How Les Brown taught me to sprinkle expert quotes into my presentations
One of my favorite motivational speakers, however, is Les Brown. Les Brown has an infectious enthusiasm that gets audiences moving. As I researched what made each of these Master Motivators great, I found something interesting about Les Brown.
In his speeches, he begins with a motivational quote of his own as a teaching point. Then it immediately adds a quote from an expert to reinforce it.
For example, in one of his speeches, Brown said that if you want to be successful, you must “take full responsibility for your life. Then he immediately cited George Bernard Shaw saying, the people who make it in this world are those who get up and seek the conditions they choose, and, if they can’t find them, make them.
It’s a great technique because since it states its principle first, the expert reinforces it.
Add an example or story to explain your blog content more easily.
When I was in university studying business, my father invited me to a business conference in Ft. It was worth having a dozen motivational speakers and entrepreneurs presenting. Each presenter stood up, and spoke for 45 minutes to an hour on a specific business topic. I took all the notes I could muster.
This was before PowerPoint, so speakers had visual aids displayed on huge television screens in the rafters of the Colosseum. Halfway through the second morning, the AV guys removed the music stand from the stage. The next presenter came up the stairs with just a handheld microphone. He was a pastor by trade but had also become very popular as a motivational speaker.
He had no visual aids. However, he painted a picture in the minds of the audience as he walked back and forth across the stage, reinforcing his points with story after story drawn from personal experience.
Your stories portray a picture for the people that is more unforgettable than a static graphical aid.
At the end of the conference, I asked some of the attendees which of the speakers they thought had done the best job. Five of the six people I asked said he was the pastor they remembered the most. Most of them could recall certain notions from the speech.
Keep in mind that over the three days we heard some very powerful and famous speakers. But this Southern pastor was the one everyone remembered. Now, years later, I know why.
This is because he made a personal connection with his audience by telling stories and examples. You can also. Making your presentation outline is like making a sketch or seeing a black and white photo. When you go back and start adding stories and examples, that’s when the photo takes on color. Stories add flavor to your presentation.
I was in a mastermind group in 2009 with a bunch of other professional speakers. A member of our group told us that he always liked to give his audience more than he promised. He told us that he always covered more content than was on his schedule.
One of the other speakers chided him, saying, “I hate to tell you this man, but nobody in your audience cares about that extra content if you never show them how to use it.” We were all a little taken aback by the reviews until he continued, “It’s not your content that makes you different from everyone else in this room. It’s your story. If you sacrifice your story to add more content, the audience won’t remember either of them.
On the Better Explained.com website, an article on analogies reads… “Analogies are handles for grasping a larger, more slippery idea. They are a raft to cross a river and can be abandoned once the other side Unsympathetic experts may think the raft is useless, since they don’t use it anymore, or maybe they were such wonderful swimmers that it was never needed!
We often think of a speech, blog post, or presentation as one long series of linked ideas. When we think this way, however, we miss the fact that the best communication is the one that establishes a connection with us. The reason analogies and metaphors work so well is that these literary devices help our brains connect the new information being presented to something from our past that is more familiar.
Famous analogies to stimulate your creativity to create analogies.
If you utilize analogies well, your reader or spectators will better appreciate your content. Below are some of my favorite analogies as they help the listener make an emotional connection to the content.
“Anyone who finds a pocket watch in a field will recognize that it has been intelligently designed; living beings are just as complex and must be the work of an intelligent designer. —William Paley
Do you understand that? And radio works the same way: you send signals here; they receive them there.
The good thing about analogies is that you can also use them to add some humor to your presentation. And if you use analogies and metaphors effectively, you’ll establish an emotional connection with your audience.
Memorable analogy examples from my classes
Over the years, I’ve had a few class members who understood the beauty and power of analogies.
Having the two departments working separately on the same project is like sharing a checking account with your boyfriend. Unless one party takes responsibility for documenting all transactions, you will end up with an overdrawn account.
After telling a story about how miscommunication between a foreman and a crane operator nearly killed a worker, the class member referenced a Yosemite Sam cartoon where Sam rode a camel that wouldn’t stop. Sam was yelling, “Whoa, Camel, whoa!” but the camel did not stop. Finally, Yosemite Sam hits the camel on the head with his rifle and says, “When I say whoa, I mean whoa. The class member ended by saying, we shouldn’t have to bludgeon our operators over the head to make them stop for safety reasons.