When we speak or we’re asked to speak it’s beneficial to answer this question:  What Will You Change in Your Listener?  Tough question, I know, however a critical question to carefully consider.

Think about it…if you’re not intending to effect a change, then why are you speaking? The change I’m referencing may be change in what people think or change in how people feel or change in the actions that people take.  That decision is completely up to you.  Whether the change results in how listeners think, feel, or behave, you’ve created stimulation in your listener(s), which is of paramount importance.

Recently, I was in the audience of a business professional whose topic was technology and data analytics.  Very important subject that should easily evoke several questions, raise new ideas and offer potential opportunities to explore.  Anticipating the meeting I was excited to learn something new and hoped to walk away with the inspiration to implement useful ideas.  Who wouldn’t be!

Reality was that I was quite disappointed and left uninspired by this speaker. If you’re reading this blog, the outcome I mentioned is avoidable and here’s how:

  1. Have a plan or purpose for the audience you’re going to address.
  2. Understand the audience’s level of knowledge on your specific topic.
  3. Know what your listeners want or hope to gain from your expertise.
  4. Listen to and observe your audience for additional cues.
  5. Offer relevant commentary based on what you hear and see.
  6. Ask meaningful and thought-provoking questions of your listeners.
  7. Periodically summarize what your audience has heard.
  8. Provide at least one valuable takeaway.
  9. Be sure to follow-up.

This list of nine suggestions is a strong beginning to which you may add your own points.  It’s a starting point for creating change and if you’re not changing what others feel, think, or do…what’s the point?