When most candidates speak to a group or organization, they spend their whole time talking TO the audience rather than having a conversation WITH the audience.
When the audience feels like they’re part of the show, their attention span increases, as well as your ability to connect with them and persuade. But how do you do that?
Simple. Simply poll the audience with an interesting question instead of talking “at” them. Do that and the crowd will be happy – EAGER – to answer. And then tie the exchange into your remarks.
Let’s say rising gas prices are part of your speech. You might try opening by asking the audience what their first car was. Almost everybody cherishes the memory of their first car and will readily share it with the crowd.
Hands will fly in the air.
Mine was a two-tone blue 1976 Dodge Charger Daytona with a T-top. It was sweeeeet.
And the average price/gallon in the U.S. back then was 59-cents. SWEEEET.
Think you can find a way to spin those memories into your platform proposal to do something to bring down today’s skyrocketing gas prices?
If you can, walk among the audience members to listen to their answers. This causes motion as people turn to follow you, which will keep the crowd interested and engaged. It’s hard to sleep through a speech or check your cell phone when there’s movement all around you.
Nostalgia is a powerfully persuasive tool. Asking the audience to go back in time – to a time of warmth and happiness – immediately gets the audience on your side. You’ve made them feel good. Now you just have to keep them.
You can ask about their first job. I’m guessing job creation is one of your issues, isn’t it? Or ask about their first crush. The first movie they remember seeing. The first concert they attended. Their first pet. Their first apartment or house. The first book that made an impact on their life.
Or ask about their favorites. Such as their favorite Christmas memory, their favorite aunt or uncle, their favorite teacher, their favorite food, etc.
I often ask what their favorite TV show was when growing up. Boy, does that get the ball rolling!
- “Gilligan’s Island!”
- “Leave it to Beaver!”
- “Lost in Space!”
Most people hate listening to political speeches because they’re BORING. Pump a little energy into your remarks by asking questions of the audience and have a conversation with them instead.
Nobody likes being lectured to. Especially if the lecture is BORING. Don’t be boring. It’s one of the cardinal sins of politics.
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