How do you want your audience to feel?

As speakers, we can be so focused on our words – and they do matter. But I love this Maya Angelou quote for the different frame it gives us:

‘At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.’

So what does this mean for us as speakers?

It is highly useful to consider ‘How do you want the audience to feel?”

You can apply this in different ways.

How do you want the audience to feel…. once your talk is over?

How do you want the audience to feel…in different sections of your talk?

Once you have identified the feelings (intrigued, surprised, inspired, empowered, challenged, provoked, comforted, entertained, awed, curious, or take your pick!)…then you can consider what the audience might need to be thinking in order to feel this. 

If I take a common one – empowered – what kind of things would your audience need to be thinking to feel empowered? Brainstorm and find out.

(If you get stuck, ask yourself what kinds of things you are thinking when you feel empowered.)

It could be:

I understand where to start now.

That looks doable!

I can see how they figured it out, and how that’s possible for me too.

I know where to go next with this, and where to find resources to help me out. Awesome.

This list of thoughts will give you great clues about what might need to go into your talk, and in what way. If you want your audience to feel ’empowered’, what kinds of… stories, facts, images, processes, explanations and resources might lead to the thoughts listed above?

If I selected ‘awed’ and did the same exercise I would get a very different set of thoughts to consider and experiment with. 

Have fun experimenting with this.