But when Lauren speaks, she gets a lukewarm response, not the rave reviews she’d like. She knows that she’s one of the leading experts in her field, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference to the audience.
It’s a situation I see over and over, across professionals, authors, speakers and entrepreneurs. They have great information – ideas and topics that interest people – but these would-be leaders just don’t make the impact they want.
Here’s the bottom line:
You can work day and night on your content.
You can polish the words of your speech until they sparkle.
You can agonize over each syllable in that magazine article or blog post.
You can spend hours carefully crafting each minute on that meeting agenda.
But information alone won’t move hearts and minds. It can still fall flat.
Some of the smartest people on the planet can’t keep an audience of one interested for 60 seconds. And what happens? No one listens to them. The real tragedy is that their brilliance doesn’t impact anyone else.
What can you do to guarantee a better outcome, to have more impact, in whatever you’re pursuing?
It’s simple. Before you go into any situation, ask yourself three powerful questions:
1. What’s my energy level?
2. What do I want to make sure happens here?
3. How do I want that other person/audience/reader to feel?
Let’s take each of these questions, one by one, to see why the heck they pack such a powerful punch.
1. What’s my energy level?
A truly ridiculous amount of your success in life is determined by your energy. Fact.
And no, I don’t mean whether you run or do Crossfit. I’m talking about the energy you give off during interactions. Energy in this sense boils down to how focused you are on the people you’re interacting with and what is happening in that moment.
When you’re distracted, or multitasking or carrying mental baggage from this morning’s minor road rage incident, your energy isn’t working for you.
I know, it sounds a little woo woo, but stay with me here! Energy – good or bad – is something that even the most left-brained among us respond to (even when we’re not aware of it!)
Think about it…isn’t there someone you know, who, just by being in his or her presence, makes you feel smarter, taller and better looking?
And then someone else who makes you feel exhausted every time you interact with them? That’s energy, baby!
And before you start ranting to yourself, “I’m not one of those loud, chirpy, manic people,” hold up! Energy doesn’t mean someone who’s boisterous and effusive. Energy can be quiet and intense, or calm and soothing.
It’s about being 100% engaged in what you are doing and who you’re with.
2. What do I want to leave the audience with?
This question is pure genius, no matter what situation you’re going into. And it works, even if your audience is one.
Here’s why: asking myself what I want to leave the audience with forces me narrow all my wide ranging ambitions and decide What’s Most Important. And then to structure everything else to meet those goals.
It’s easy to get distracted by details…the specific words you’ll use in your presentation or making d@$%@% sure your coworker doesn’t outtalk you during this morning’s meeting.
But the danger is that you lose sight of your bigger goal. That’s why it’s important to focus on what you want to leave your audience with – what’s the big idea?
When you focus on the big idea, you’ll think and act at a higher level. You won’t be distracted by things that don’t matter.
3. How do I want them to feel?
The most popular speakers and the most beloved leaders share something in common. It’s not that they say the most brilliant things. It’s that they make other people feel brilliant.
When you focus on how you want your audience to feel, rather than simply talking at them, you’ll make a bigger impact. And when you make others feel good, you’ll share much stronger connection. They will have a much more pleasurable association with you or your business.
Take your cue from Apple, which boasts the most profitable retail stores in the world. And all because they designed their entire experience around the question, “How do we want customers to feel when they walk into the store?”
Ask yourself these three questions when you’re prepping for a big presentation or speaking engagement.
And ask yourself these questions when you’re creating an agenda for an upcoming meeting.
And – sorry for blowing your mind here – ask yourself these questions when you’re just going to meet someone for coffee.
Today, pick one interaction and ask yourself these three questions. BOOM, you’re done! How easy was that? Fist bump, slow clap, etc.