Many authors and aspiring authors approach their first media or speaking experiences believing they must be entertaining. After all, a good speaker or talk-show guest has the gift of gab and the ability to keep an audience engaged and laughing, right? If nothing else, they have the ability to impart knowledge.
According to media coach and regular guest blogger Michael Ray Dresser, host of the well-known radio talk show Dresser After Dark, a place where many authors promote their books, it takes more than that to get audience members to take any sort of action—buy a book, sign up for a mailing list, go to a website, register for a class, or call for coaching services. Speakers of any type must be able to communicate, and communication happens on a personal and an emotional level, he says. Today, Dresser gives us another lesson on how to effectively communicate with our listening, rather than our reading, audiences.
Talking and Entertaining are Not Communication!
By Michael Ray Dresser
One day Bob called and asked me to give him a “no holds barred” critique of his speaking performance. Bob was an author and a great radio guest—both entertaining and informative—in the middle of a media tour. Bob also was a fantastic speaker, he could capture an audience’s interest and attention from the moment he uttered his first words. He was on the talk show circuit and was doing two and three shows a day.
So, why call me? His Amazon ratings were not moving and his radio interviews were not generating book sales.
I listened to his presentations and interviews. Bob was talking at the audience; he was lecturing and explaining things to the listeners. He was talking at the audience and not to them. He also was talking about himself and his accomplishments. There was no compelling reason for the audience to take action—to go a web site or book seller and purchase his book.
When you are interviewed or speak to an audience, you have to be intentional. You have to be systematic and have a clear sense of purpose about why you are being interviewed or why you are speaking. You have to know why you are there. What is the purpose of your presentation? Is it to inform? Is it to entertain? Is it to call your audience to action? Or, is it all of the above?
Your presentation has to have a reason for being, otherwise it gets lost in entertaining talk. If, like Bob, you want to mobilize an audience to action (to buy a book or some other product or service) you have to reach them on a personal and emotional level. You must speak to their emotions and to something they relate to personally; what you say must fit within their frame of reference, not yours. You can’t use the time you have to let the audience know how wonderful you are; nobody cares! Your focus must be on what your subject matter does for them. How does the information you are presenting benefit your audience?
If you fail to connect through understanding—empathy—you wind up behind an “empty microphone.” All of your “entertaining talk” will not sell a book, a product or a service.
Considering that the reason for Bob’s media tour was to sell his book, the fact that what he was saying was not relevant to his was not serving their needs or his own. He was not relating to his listeners in a way that he was seen as the connection to solving their problem. They listened but couldn’t hear him. They might as well have tuned in to another radio station.
If your subject happens to be about health care, for example, make a key point. Then, immediately afterward, tell a story about a father who lost his job and his health insurance. Explain how this caused him to borrow money to buy his sick son medicine. This allows your audience to realize—to intuit—that you emotionally understand their concerns. Now your message is about them, not about you (or about our friend, Bob).
When you introduce a relatable “human factor” scenario into your presentation and then tie that to a solution you are offering, to the benefits in your book, your topic or your point of view, the resultant effect is a call to action—a motivation for your audience to pick up a copy of your book, participate in a seminar or whatever your objective might be.
Unfortunately, Bob did neither of these things. Bob did not define why he was speaking in such a way that his audience could personally relate. He, therefore, ended up with no call to action.
Remember, communication is about your audience and how what you say will benefit them. It’s about them. It is not about you!
About the Author
Michael Ray Dresser, host at Dresser After Dark, is a talk show host with passion, skill and talent for coaxing outstanding content from guests whose messages shine with confidence, clarity, and relevance. His engaging interview style sets the stage for authors, experts, and trainers worldwide to captivate, inform, and inspire action.
His 27-year career in radio and media skills training got its start when he sat down behind a microphone at a radio station in Fairbanks, Alaska in January of 1983. Since then, he has interviewed thousands of radio guests from all over the world.
Dresser is a sought-after media skills trainer serving clients around the globe with his proprietary media skills training system. His forthcoming book, “Why Do They Listen? Creating a Compelling Connection with Your Audience Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere,” will guide experts the world over to achieve winning results through the power of engaging conversation.