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The Art of Influence: Don't Explain, Illustrate

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Dec 03, 2012 @ 02:27 PM

motivational keynote speakerWhen my ex fiance talks to me I usually tune him out. I may busy my mind thinking of other things or just pretend to listen. Later I think, why is he so hard to listen to? With excrutiating effort I did hear him out once and realized it isn't just his poor delivery but it's actually how he constructs his message.

Kevin has this strong need to bombard me with information and to explain every single detail. These facts and useless jargon loosely tied to a point, fail to make an impact because it is just that- a bunch of seemingly useless information.

If he took the time to figure out how to influence me, it would be a different story. Sometimes I have him back up and say, tell me what that would look like? Suddenly his message is much more easy to tolerate. True, I am a visual learner but I'm also convinced the best way to influence anyone is to stop throwing information at them and visually illustrate your point. Instead of conveying inforation, he could produce an experience.

As a motivational keynote speaker I hear a lot of other guest speakers who make this same mistake. Instead of illustrating an idea, they explain it. They recite evidence, facts, details and communicate it in a plain, direct and precise way. Listening to guest speakers recite facts makes me think I could more efficiently get this from a book ( we can read faster than others can talk). The most boring guest speakers read these facts directly off their PowerPoint.

To become a motivational keynote speaker, I have taken some really bad public speaking courses and some pretty good ones. The good speech coach will show you how to illustrate a point. Here it involves some drama and usually involves telling a story or creating a picture in your audiences mind. Expression, emotion, conflict and  it's resolution take a listener from where they are to where you want them to be. A story makes a point and creates a memory that allows it to sink in and be easier to recall.

In my ex- fiances case, this would mean illustrating his point ( along with his data) to help me interpret it's meaning. Taking the data and linking it to memories or other associations is a start.

For instance, if his point is that our son is not speaking as much as he should for his age, Kevin usually bombards me with facts, internet research and usually a spreadsheet is involved. To influence me, he could consider illustrating his point with a story or examples.

He briefly explained a work colleague had a daughter who was held back from kindergarden because she wasn't speaking fluently. This gets my attention. If he were to express his concern by illustrating it and building his arguement to make his point, I would understand where he is coming from.

Instead, I do my own research, observe my sons speech patterns, create my own assessment and illustrate to Kevin why our son is actually a great communicator at 3 years old. Who creates the better arguement? I do of course.

The difference is how we create our presentation:

When I explain something I observe life... what's happened? who was impacted? where is the drama or conflict? what will happen if we do nothing?

When Kevin explains something he draws on research, facts, and data.

The best way to influence others is to include both facts, research and to illustrate your point visually. Look at the situation, illustrate your point and use facts to create a compelling arguement.

See the motivational talk, Follow Me I'm Right Behind You... How to Lead and Influence Others

Tags: guest speakers, motivational keynote speaker, influence others

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