If a speaker wants to leave the audience with a memorable message, and make them go away still thinking of the point of his speech, he simply must use some kind of memory hook to make it “stick” with the audience.
Great ideas on how to make your ideas stick can be found in the book “Made to stick” by Dan and Chip Heath.
They say there are 6 crucial elements that make the idea “stick” in the audience’s mind:
Find the core of the idea and express it in a concise, compact way. Cut down your presentation to a bare minimum and remove all but pure essence of the idea. Only after that, enrich this core idea with schemes, analogies, metaphors and any other tools that will enable you to bring it closer to the audience. Still, always keep in mind that core idea at the heart of your message.
Break a pattern! Step out of the set frame! Our brain reacts to surprises and the unexpected. However, the surprise must always reinforce the core message! Use a mystery or a riddle to start your presentation. Raise questions in the audience’s mind… and then resolve them. Open gaps for your audience, and then close them. Make them wonder before you give them the information.
So how about unexpected in Jamie Oliver’s opening of his TED speech? Even more, unexpected surprise in the middle of the speech – and very successful using of visuals at the same time!
Last but not least…his most winning weapon is true passion for the topic he is talking about!
“Abstraction is the luxury of the expert”. It is very easy to get tangled in professional language and complex abstract terms… especially if we have wide knowledge about the subject! But if you would like to get closer to your audience, use concrete, tangible language, and put a lot of sensory information into your story. People remember concrete things much better than the abstract ones (eg. using case studies in teaching, or apples to teach kids math). Words that can be touched and seen, not only abstract concepts. The more concrete, the more memorable!
In life, our credibility comes from our experience. When delivering presentation, our credibility comes from the experience that the audience perceives we have and how believable we make our experience appear. The more vivid details we are able to provide, the more credible and knowledgeable we seem. Applying broader theory to a particular example where theory worked, makes theory much more credible. Examples of cases when theory worked and “testable credential” – asking audience to test for themselves and for their own opinion are some of the most successful strategies to build your credibility.
Did you know that people are more inclined to give charity for one person then for a nation? Personal is what touches us and provokes us to react.
The closer some idea is to the individual, the stronger is the impact of that idea. Emotions make ideas feel personal and “our own”. People react either to things that are in their self-interest and that impact them personally, or to things which they identify with. So provide them with both!
In case you would like to see an amazing example of pulling the audience into the speaker’s emotion, check out Amy Purdy’s speech on TED:
Brene Brown does it equally successful:
Always give WIIFY (“whats in it for you”) to each member of the audience – how will (s)he profit from your presentation?
Stories are the best way to engage people and to make them feel part of your presentation. Stories keep the audience involved. They transfer them from a passive observer into being a part of world that you are showing them. Audience empathises and identifies themselves with the protagonists of the story. Stories engage people to participate instead of resisting your message. When we hear a story, we simulate reality – the story is a simulator of life. It can helps us build our skills, and can help us understand other person’s point of view.
When we “throw out” some fact directly, often we will meet resistance of the audience or they will challenge us to prove them our point to them. But if we involve them in our story and make them feel part of it, it will seem to them as if they are building the story with us. They will get the feel of building something together with you and they will empathize and identify with protagonists of the story.
The story will serve as a simulator of life, and it will provide the audience with first-hand experience on how to act.
Check out Anthony Robbins telling a story about Rocky:
How to create memory hooks?
There are many tools at our disposal that we can use as memory hooks: pictures, quotes , movement/gesture/the way you say something, story or anecdote. It is important to keep it linked to the message that you are trying to convey, and to keep it memorable in a way of evoking some emotion or something personal in the mind of an audience.
Martin Luther King was a great artist of metaphors that would stay very memorable in the mind of the audience – check his speech “I Have a Dream” (16min):
Not only does he play with some great contrasts, images and comparisons here, but notice that he is also using all three main sensory systems of human perception – using visual images (dark night, ocean…), as well as sounds (symphony, ring of freedom…) and feelings (stream, rolling down…).