By Laura Stack, MBA, CSP
As professional speakers, it’s our goal to implant our messages firmly in our listeners’ minds. But some research indicates that 90 percent of audience members forget every brilliant thing you uttered within 30 days. To use a computing analogy, if the speech’s underlying message doesn’t get written into long-term storage, then new experiences eventually crowd it out of the listener’s short-term memory buffer.
How do you keep your message from becoming part of this depressing statistic? Not just by providing a thought-provoking, enthusiastic speech, but also by interacting with the audience both before and after your talk—in ways that help them affix your message in their permanent memories. Let’s take a look at a few tips for the “bookends” of your presentation.
If someoneexpects something to be wonderful and valuable, then they’re more likely to experience it as wonderful and valuable. So try these things to connect with your audience members in advance and increase the expectation quotient:
When you’re finished speaking, don’t just leave the room. Now is the time to solidify your efforts, so your audience members will remember what you’ve taught them and carry it forward into their daily lives. Here are some ways to encourage this:
Ultimately, consider yourself a teacher—whether you provide advice on honing time management skills, inspire people to greater heights, or sell a product or service. As a teacher, you aim to present your audience with new information that can improve their lives. The difficult part is making them pay attention and remember it. Anything you can do to encourage this will pay profitable dividends in the long run, so don’t neglect the time before and after your presentations. They’ll give you an edge over all those other presenters, whose messages the audience most likely will forget before the end of the month.
Laura Stack has consulted with Fortune 500 corporations for nearly 20 years in the field of personal productivity and is the best-selling author of several books, including “Supercompetent.” She is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) and the 2011-2012 president of the National Speakers Association (NSA). Stack’s productivity-improvement programs have been used worldwide at companies such as Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Cisco Systems, and Bank of America. She is the creator of The Productivity Pro planner by Day-Timer. For more information, visit www.TheProductivityPro.comor www.NSAspeaker.org.