What if Your Audience is Psychic?

Read Time: 5 Minutes

I am writing this post from the deck of my apartment. It is a gorgeous fall day here in Seattle and it has me thinking.

The idea I want to give you today is one I have been using in my speaking career since day one and I think it will help your presentations immeasurably.

What if your audience is psychic?

What if every thought that went through your mind during a speech or even during a conversation was visible? What if you had a billboard on your head which showed whatever you were thinking?

That would change the way you valued your mindset when speaking pretty substantially, right?

Here is the thing, your audience can tell how you feel and what you’re thinking.

Not consciously and not precisely but on an intuitive level, everyone you meet knows what is going on in your mind.

The way in which this happens is through what are known as sub communications. You can read my post on sub-communications here if you like.

The short version of that post is that your thoughts change subtle things about how you communicate like the speed, tempo, and tone of your voice, as well as your body language.

In a nutshell, your thoughts and your mood are always shining through in your non-verbal communication and all of this is happening on such a complex yet subtle level that neither you nor the person you are speaking with are aware of it consciously.

But on a subconscious level you both know what is going on.

This is the reason for those inexplicable gut feelings or hunches about people.

Intuition is neither a caprice nor a sixth sense, but a form of unconscious intelligence
— Gerd Gigerenzer

This is why I have been using this idea for years. Now that I have found out the science behind why it works I am getting more vocal about it as a presentation tool.

When you recognize the connection between the thoughts running through your head and the way other people perceive you, you start to manage your mindset and your thoughts much more carefully.

As a result of holding a more positive mindset you will see others reacting more positively to you. Whether in front of an audience of 1 or 100 the principle at work is the same.

So, how do you put this insight into practice?    

There are infinite ways to do it, but my method is a three part story you tell yourself while speaking.

I call this technique valuing, invaluable and optimistic.

This trio of narratives seems to work wonders for putting yourself at ease onstage and also getting your audience to enjoy what you are saying.

Essentially the narrative goes something like this.

This story has three parts.          

Valuing is in a nutshell valuing whoever you are speaking to.

Unless you really value the person you are speaking to or the audience that you are speaking to, they will feel a disconnect. I remember one speech I gave a while ago to a very small audience. I drove 2 hours to go give a gratis speech to a chamber of commerce because I love meeting business owners. To my chagrin rather than speaking to 100 or so leaders I found myself infront of 10. I would have been happy to do this but the real issue was that the ‘meeting’ was in a Mexican restaurant and the audience was clearly not in the mood to even attend this chamber meeting.

I was livid.

I gave a decent presentation and offered value. Heck, one of the people there was very happy I had come and I am grateful for that.  From that speech I learned the valuable lesson that your internaldialogue shapes your reality. Had I really valued my audience I would have been able to overcome their blasé attitude, engaged them better, and given them more valuable.

On the bright side, that initial frustration gave me the insight to write this post.

The second component of this mindset is invaluable

By this I mean you have to tell yourself the story of what value you are going to offer your audience, how you can increase their life and make them better as a result of interacting with you. Tell yourself the story of how you are going to be invaluable to your audience.

If this is a speech, you will want to be thinking in terms of what knowledge you can share to make your audience better people, how can they learn from your expertise or mistakes.

If it is one onone, this same mindest can show up in even more diverse ways. Including connecting the person you are speaking with to someone they could benefit from meeting.

Finally, you’ve got to be optimistic.

You have to expect the best. When you are presenting onstage the audience is your mirror. If you walk up shy, tentative, weak, then the audience will see you as someone with no value to offer. If you walk onstage strong, confident and expecting that people will respond well to you then your mindset will shapehow you hold yourself and will become a self fulfilling prophesy.

In the words of the rapper 50 cent

It’s the kid who is afraid of getting in a fight who ends up getting hit
— 50 Cent

Speaking is the same way.

Whatever you project to the world is what you receive back.

It’s not mystical, it is just that your mindset shapes your bodylanguage which in turn shapes how people see you.

If you want your audience to value you and to react positively to your message, it starts with the mindset of valuing your audience, valuing your message, and expecting that they will feel the same.

Manage you thoughts as if your audience is psychic, because in a sense they are.

Until next time,


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