A Simple Tool to Make Your Speech Relevant to Your Audience

Have you ever listened to a speech and though to yourself, “How is this relevant to me?’

In this post, taken from book “Storytelling Techniques for Electrifying Presentations“, you’ll discover a simple tool that will help make your presentation more relevant to your audience.

Take an Element Out of Your Speech and Put it Into Your Audience’s Life

In my book, I analyze a speech by Erick Rainey, who is a 2 time UK & Ireland public speaking champion.

Erick’s speech details his journey from being a background extra to becoming a rising star. To make his speech more relevant to his audience,  he takes this particular element from his speech and puts it into his audience’s life using an appropriate metaphor (“in the movie of your life”):

And in the movie of your life, you decide if you’re going to be the background extra…or the rising star!

storyWhy is this important? Because most of the audience members listening to Erick’s speech aren’t trying to becoming acrobats and gymnasts. However, by taking the element of “background extra” and “rising star” out of his speech and applying it to his audience’s life, Erick allows his audience members to reflect on their own goals and dreams. Erick’s background-extra-to-rising-star story becomes a springboard from which audience members can reflect on their own lives.


Get Your Audience Members to Reflect on Their Life

Let me give you another example of how you can take an element out of your speech and put it into your audience’s life.

In one my keynotes about avoiding Dreamkillers (negative people), I talk about my ex-girlfriend. Here’s a small section of the speech:

After high school, my dream was to start a business.

So when my brilliant business idea popped into my head, I couldn’t wait to share it with my friends!

So I shared it…with my ex-girlfriend…

Nancy Negative listened to my idea and said, “What do you know about running a business?”

Very encouraging, isn’t she? (audience laughter)      

See, there’s a reason she’s my ex! (audience laughter)

Later on in the speech, I take the element of “Nancy Negative” and apply it to the audience’s life. I say:

Who is your Nancy Negative?

Who’s holding you back?

Get rid of the Nancy Negatives in your life and you’ll be able to accomplish far more than you ever thought was possible!

Do you see how my ex-girlfriend, Nancy Negative, now becomes a metaphor for all the negative people in my audience members lives?

Later on in the speech, I go on to explain that getting rid of negative people was just one step towards achieving my dream. A second step was to get rid of the negative thoughts I was carrying around in my head:

I began to take stock of the thoughts and ideas and beliefs I was carrying around inside my head.

And you know what I realized?

My head was full…of Nancy Negatives!

Although I’d gotten rid of Nancy from my life, I was still carrying around in my head with my own personal Nancy Negative.

And you know what was the worst thing?

She just wouldn’t shut up! (audience laughter)

Are you carrying around a Nancy Negative in your head?

Do you see how I turned Nancy Negative into a metaphor for my inner critic? And do you see how I took that out of my speech and applied it to my audience’s lives by asking them about their inner Nancy Negative?

In your next speech, remember to take an element out of your speech and to apply it to your audience’s lives to get them to reflect on their life.


Recommended Resource for Mastering Storytelling

If you would like more great tools and tips on how to master the art of storytelling for public speaking, then check out my book “Storytelling Techniques for Electrifying Presentations – available for immediate download from Amazon for less than the price of a cup of coffee!

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speeches Photo Credit: wili_hybrid

3 thoughts on “A Simple Tool to Make Your Speech Relevant to Your Audience”

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