It’s tempting to think that doing a talk for students would be like a game of golf. If you’re lining up in the same stand, swinging at it with the same technique, and paying attention to the mechanics that at some point it would get easier… right?
It doesn’t. Like golf it can get very frustrating and bring a lot of pain instead of being a joy to participate in. The method below has helped a lot of people process through the mental clutter and frustration that we all feel when we want to be heard and have conviction about a topic we will bring in front of students. When you prepare for a talk you’re going to focus on two questions.
Why should I care about this topic?
This is the first and fundamental question that a speaker must answer well. This is part of the talk where the introduction gains the attention of the listener, story is built in a compelling way, and a destination is presented that is clear and simple to the student. In their heart they need to say, “I totally get that and I’m on board with where you are headed in this talk. I want to know what to do about it.”
So what do I do now?
The second part of the talk is where usually everyone has the potential to screw things up. You’ve work hard in the beginning to gain their attention, create desire toward a preferred end, and then you’ve got this awesome transition that brings with it a lot of temptation for you as a speaker. Here are the big pitfalls.
1. Do not think that you have to tell them every single thing you know about how to solve the problem. Give them one simple step first then describe the following step for when they are ready. Do not give them 7 steps in a cunning crafty acronym. It’s too much to absorb and if they feel they can’t even get past step two they will dismiss the solution all together.
2. Do not think that you have to get their attention just one more time. You’ve got them already in the palm of your hand. You’ve told a funny story or showed a clip to gain their attention, clearly defined a desired position, and proven that it’s a place they need to go to. Step right into the second question and answer it. You’re going to distract them with one more joke or one more story to reinforce the same thing you just got through saying.
Once you’ve moved them in an inspiring way by creating buy in toward the issue and given them one simple step, end it. Close and walk away. Don’t linger on convincing, compelling, or bantering on about what to do next. If your talk was twenty minutes 12-15minutes would belong to the first question and 8-10 minutes would belong to the last question.
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