like Tony Robbins does
Tony Robbins is not a motivational speaker only because he was born to speak, he has natural talent, or he is saying something new.
He may have a natural talent for speaking but without practicing the techniques used to appeal to his audience, he would not be successful.
Most of the time, he tells his audience things they already know, but overall, his delivery and the way that he makes the audience feel is what makes him so popular.
He makes them feel like they are having a conversation.
Tony has learned the valuable skills that result in him being an expert in eliciting quality response from his audience.
What Tony Does is a Skill that can be Learned and Replicated
Many speakers might marvel at the way he can ask a question and get a useful and audible response from his audience.
Today while listening one of his clips on The Quote of the Day Show, Tony talked about what it means to be wealthy, and I was very impressed with how much his audience verbally responded to his questions.
Eliciting audience response is not easy nor does it happen randomly.
It is a skill that Tony has learned, and we can, too.
Think about it: Has there been any time when you have asked a question that you desired a response from and the person or audience assumed that it was a rhetorical question and did not respond? Why do you think that might have happened?
3 things to think about when planning ways to interact with an audience:
Establish a purpose for their response
Are you trying to check whether the audience is engaged, check for understanding or are you ready to move on to a new subject?
Tony makes statements like, “All those who want wealth, say ‘I’.” Then they respond.
This is a strategy that he uses to ensure that the audience is still with him and it makes them feel like they are being spoken to and part of the conversation. This strategy also could be used by the speaker to stay on track, motivated, and moving forward.
It also works as an attention-getter. This is the perfect opportunity to say something like, “Who’s with me?” Note: You can use this to pump them up if you repeat it until you have a loud response.
Are you trying to get them to make a personal connection, so that it gives them the feeling of a deeper connection to you or the topic?
When an audience has time to think about how the topic applies to their lives, it makes them feel like they have had an interaction with you. It makes them feel like you have listened to their part of the story.
Do not be afraid of the pregnant pause that Lisa Nichols talks about. It is an effective tool to use to connect to your audience.
You could do this by asking a rhetorical question, “Who has ever felt like this before?” Or “Think about a time when you have felt this way.”
If at all possible, let them have 5 minutes to tell their story out loud to their neighbor in a group context.
Note: If audience members are allowed to tell their story, they will buy into yours much more effectively.
2. Know what their response will be
As a speaker, you never want to be surprised at how the audience will respond. You should generally be at least one step ahead of the audience.
Make sure you ask a question that you already have an idea of what the audience might say or think.
If you are not sure what the answer might be, then take some time to ask a few trusted people to tell you what they would say or think. If you ask at least 5 people, the audience member’s answers will most likely not be far from it.
Note: The teacher/speaker is the one responsible for creating a question that leads into the point being made. If the question is not clear or misinterpreted, the audience will be confused and lose confidence in the speaker.
3. Be prepared to train the desired response
Just because you ask a good question, doesn’t mean that the audience will know that you are expecting them to audibly respond. We must train our audience to respond the way that we want them to.
Use non-verbal cues: pausing, gestures, and repetition.
Tony pauses after he asks questions that he wants a response to.
As speakers, we sometimes fear silence. We think, “If there is silence, then I will bore them, or they will have time to think about what I’m doing wrong.”
This negative thinking is not true. Pausing within a speech actually does the opposite effect.
When there is surprising silence within a speech it gives the audience time to think about what you have said, which is what you want them to do.
Pausing can make them refocus their attention on you.
Note: If you are uncomfortable with silence, then you could just say what you want and know that they will say and gesture them to say it with your hands.
After Speaking Self-Reflection
Each time we speak or teach, we must take time to reflect on the interaction we had and how we can do it more effectively next time. The following are a list of questions that we can ask ourselves.
- Did I use audience interaction for the benefit of the audience’s understanding and keeping them engaged? Did it work? What are some things I can change next time.
- Were the questions worded in a way that they knew what to answer? Was there any confusion on their part or on mine? Was anyone surprised about anything? What can I do to fix it?
- Did the audience pick up my cues? How can I streamline audience interaction to get a more desired effect?
- Were the questions necessary? How can I make a question that is more impactful or interesting? Can I expand on the interaction to provide a more meaningful interaction?