How to Establish Connection and Engage Your Audience like Barack Obama?



Photo: Courtesy of Mikie Bones

I’ve been following the American election race for awhile now – not for the politics, but really for the opportunity of studying the quality of speeches and strategies used by the Presidential Nominees in their during their delivery and debates. Fully aware that I’m running the risk of sounding prejudiced, I must say that Barak Obama’s speeches has so far been top-notch and his manner of delivery has been both exact and

In most cases, I think he has done a fantastic job in revving and inspiring the crowd before carrying them on-board the “Obama-Express”. His meteoric rise has not come by accident though – and I’m not surprised – I credit a large part of his success to his ability to relate, connect and engage his audience. Not only has he been able to inspire and project credibility – he has also been able to entertain and speak with humility and sincerity.

But here’s the best part of listening to his speeches: I’ve been doing my research, and I’ve identified several strategies that you and I can learn to enhance our delivery skills. It’ll probably take some getting used to, but it’s really simple to learn. All you have to do is focused is focused on ONE small word to create a BIG.

Interested to know what’s it? Well, check out the video below and read the analysis!

The video shows Obama delivering a speech in Mitchell when he was on his way to securing the Democratic primary election. It is focuses mainly on the last 10mins of his speech – but I think the duration was sufficient in showing us what he did to rouse the emotions of his audience and inspire them to chant along with him.

It was a subtle suggestion – but it made one helluva impact.

Let’s see if you can manage to find out the keyword that he used.

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Have you managed to identify the precious word?

What was it? Alright, just in case you didn’t manage to find it… let me help you out a little by sharing with you some excerpts from the speech where THE keyword was used:

… this election is not about me, it’s not about Hillary Clinton, it’s not John McCain – it’s about you. It’s about your hopes, it’s about your dreams… (Word used 3 times)

… I will spend everyday working hard to make your lives better, I will think about you when I’m in the white house. I will spend every waking moment trying to make your lives better. (Word used 3 times)

… I will always tell you what I think, I will always tell you where I stand, I will always be honest about the challenges that we face as a nation. (Word used 3 times)

… But let me tell you I need something in return. I need you to participate. I need you not just to vote, but to get your friends to vote. Even after you vote, I need you to be involved in the campaign. I need you to pay attention to the debates, I need you to follow the issues… we need need an engaged citizenry to bring about change to this country… (Word used 9 times!)

Found it?

The keyword is YOU.

“You” is the sound that makes the audience sit up and pay attention. “You” is the sound that’s music to their ears. “You” is the sound that appeals to your eyes and ears… so much so that you haven’t realised that I’ve used “You” 6 times out of 44 words so far in this paragraph. (*winks*)

“You” is the keyword that connects you to your audience and allow you to command the attention of your audience. There is nothing more powerful that the word “You” and its derivatives (ie: your/yours) when it comes to communicating ideas. Not him, not her, not ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls!

People simply pay attention when they hear the word you!

Don’t you?

The fundamental idea behind this word is that it attracts the attention of the listener (and reader). In a nutshell, people don’t care about what the speaker has to say… unless it concerns them – and more specifically – benefits them. So, calling out the word “You” and replacing words like “friends/guests/everybody/everyone” can have a significant impact on endearing yourself to the audience and commanding their attention.

Another tip that you can use is to cut out words like “how many (of you)” and “have anyone (of you)” … done this/that. The concept of “you” is to use the word to establish a personal connection with the individual – but “group” words like “how many” and “anyone” tend to have a negating effect on that connection because you’re essentially addressing the group and not the individual.

Essentially, you want to audience to leave thinking “Wow, the speaker really spoke to me tonight!”, rather than “Wow… I was really part of a group tonight”.

As a serious, top notch speaker, I know you want your audience to leave with something special – and that something special would be the message and value that you’ve in store for them. While there’s really nothing fundamentally wrong with addressing them as a group – the message and value of your presentation may be driven home with greater impact and gusto when you’re able to establish that PERSONAL CONNECTION – and all it takes is simple three letter word to achieve – YOU.

Speak with Success today.

Remember, it’s all about YOU!

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It’s All About You

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