Immersing Your Audience in The Story
You must connect for real communication to happen. In order to really link with your audience, you must tell them something that they want to hear. While this seems clear, it is often missed, resulting in a presentation or message that blows right by the listener. How do you do this? What do you do when your message is not what someone wants to hear?
A well-told story is something that will stick in your audience’s mind for years to come. This is done through immersing your audience in your story. It is impossible to do by just reading through a list of bullet points or a typical press release. With some practice, immersing your audience in your story is a relatively simple task. When you are presenting your message, you must be deliberate. Every word and image presented must create a clear mental picture of the problem or issue you are highlighting. How do you successfully do this? I have included some tips below that have worked for me.
Remember that if you are using graphics, pictures, or video, these should only supplement your story rather than repeat what you have already said. You are the messenger. All the extra stuff should point back to you and the message. Too many presenters display a flashy production, while losing the message.
You can and should provide sensory details to your listeners that will allow them to actually see, hear, feel, and smell the different stimuli in your story. A presenter's ability to communicate a gripping and memorable story has much to do with engaging our senses. This is how we experience the world. If we can bring the listener to this place, we can connect the hearer with the message.
You might only have 30 seconds to connect, so you must make use of short but effective descriptions. This is not the place for long drawn out platitudes. Laser-like comments and descriptions to join the hearer with the message are needed.
Connect the story to something that is important to those you are speaking. If you are telling your story in Cincinnati, a comment about Pete Rose will work a lot better there then if made in San Diego. This is why you always hear performers yell out the cities name where they are performing. It automatically connects the message with the hearer. They invest in the comments you are making.
Connecting with your audience is not so hard. You can be true to the message, communicating vital information while also telling your audience something that they want to hear. A real connection happens when the hearer immerses in the story, and are truly a part of it. This is when real communication takes place and change is affected.