Retention increases when you add active verbs
to inanimate ideas. Get people to think about
doing what you’re talking about. Instead of saying,
“Kindness is important in the workplace,” use the
active verb to strengthen the idea: “Do kind things
and people almost always return the favor.”
The brain is a lazy, and needs to be
coddled, coaxed and coached into consciousness. When you do that, your
audience goes from thinking how brilliant you are to imagining how brilliant
they can be, and that will stick with them
longer than your final bow.
is experiencing what you want them to
experience clearly and concisely.
This means that you have to understand your audience’s experience
with your material. Do your homework before the speech. Sometimes,
all it takes is a slight tweak or an extra
explanation to get them all in the same
context with learning. You would not
give the same speech to a group of sixth
graders that you do to a corporate audience. You can get at the same content,
but you have to massage the context
differently because of experience levels.
For example, if I talk to a group of
kids about an abstract emotional intelligence concept like empathy, I ask them
how they think it feels to be the person
who they ignore on the playground. “It
feels really bad and makes him sad,”
they say. Then, I ask them what they
would do to make that kid feel better.
They almost always come up with the
simple answer of asking him to play,
too, and then being his friend.
When I talk to adults, it’s different. They have more experiences with
feeling bad. They hate to admit that
they are just big kids playing on an
adult playground with the same feelings of being ostracized, so I get them
to relate to empathy and feelings by
talking about when the boss shuts them
down or what it feels like to lose out on
a job they really wanted. Some speakers
fall down here because they think that
their content is universal and they don’t
consider the audience’s experience with
4 MAXIMIZE VS. MINIMIZE.
All day long, the brain’s activity is set up
around the idea of maximizing reward
and minimizing danger. It’s true for
everyone in your audience. They want
information that feels like a reward to
them, helps them gain something, or minimizes the hassles (danger) of their lives.
If you’re busy telling your story of how
you climbed 10 of the world’s highest
peaks and what you learned from that,
that may be rewarding for you, but it’s
not for your audience. The framing of
your talk will be more powerful when
you think in terms of what it means for
the audience. In the past, we’ve talked
a lot about WIIFM (what’s in it for me)
incorporated into speeches, and now
we have the science to back it up and
add a slight twist. It’s imperative that
audience members hear ways to minimize the threats they face, such as losing
jobs, income freezes, more hours, less
resources and so on.
Scott Halford, CSP, is president of Complete Intelligence™, LLC. He helps individuals and organizations become more successful through emotional
intelligence and neuro-behavioral science. He
is a postgraduate student in the neuroscience of
leadership through the Neuroleadership
Institute and the University of Middlesex in
London. He is the Brainy Business columnist
each month for Entrepreneur Magazine online.
He sits on the NSA Board of Directors and
serves as Treasurer. He can be reached at
Scott@CompleteIntelligence.comAUDIENCE PAY ATTENTION O FUNCTIONAL MAGNETIC E LOOKING AT YOU BUT NOT G. THAT MAY SEE CYNICAL, DER AND MORE DELIBERATELY ND TRULY SHIFT THEIR AUDI- CTIONS COMPETING FOR THEIR CE THAT WILL HELP YOU COMPETE YOU TALK. THEY LEARN WHEN THEY APPLY VER AND OVER. THEY’RE CERTAINLY NOT AKERS SAY THEY SPEAK TO CHANGE ATTI- NEITHER IS HAPPENING, AT LEAST NOT HERS INFORMATION AND STORES IT G YOU SAID. GATHERING HAPPENS , IF YOU GIVE THE AUDIENCE 15 DIF- SELECT A MAXIMUM OF FOUR NEW GET SPACED OUT! Learning and retention increase when information gathering is spaced. Research shows that if you teach one group for 3 hours and then teach another group the same information 1.5 hours today and 1.5 hours tomor- row, both groups will have the same recall after 24 hours. But after one week, the spaced group will retain up to 70 percent more information. Find ways to space what you convey. It doesn’t have to be in one speech!