IF YOU CAN CONNECT, YOU WIN…
It's true. If you can genuinely touch people, if you can speak so that they can actually hear you, if you can show them how much you care and that you are on their side - and mean it down to your core - you've got 'em. Connecting is an art. It takes understanding, total awareness and absolute honesty. And guts. Why? Because to truly move people you can't hold back. You've got to show your cards, be vulnerable, even be willing to look a bit foolish to get your point across. The audience - any audience - ultimately figures out the truth. So you might as well tell it. And if you do, and you do it with absolute passion, total conviction and a dollop of self-effacing humor, you've got a heck of a good chance of getting their approval, their buy-in, perhaps their love - and maybe even their vote.
There is much to learn in the upcoming weeks from watching the presidential and vice presidential debates, speeches, town hall meetings, interviews and random sound bytes - and asking yourself, who "connects" and who doesn't? And deciding whom, if anyone, you want to emulate when you're asking for the order. Here are some of the communications techniques I use with people I coach. Use them as a "scorecard" when you watch the candidates - or anyone else who's making a pitch...
Seven Steps to Making the Connection...and the Sale
Many people have asked me what specifically I'd recommend for Mitt Romney and President Obama in the debate coming up this Wednesday. Here are a few thoughts:
× Don't smile without a reason, particularly when you're asked a question. People are smart; they know it's phony and although you might look polite, you can come across as disinterested - or even arrogant.
× Don’t waffle. Stick to the core of your “brand.”
× Play to the best people...the people who buy your act. Don’t get angry. Mad people alienate their audiences.
× Be urgent. Lead with your optimism for the future and for what’s possible.
× Stay away from how bad "he" could make it and concentrate on how good we could make it - together.
× Show us your passion.
For both: Truly connecting is never about being smooth, polished or perfect. Many forgettable people deliver flawless presentations. Let the audience know how much you care by stopping for a moment to search for the right words to describe the extent of your commitment. Tap into the power of the "pause." Let them see you struggle to get it right. If it's honest and comes from the heart, you'll have them (at least for that moment) in the palm of your hand.
Okay, as you watch the debate, do it with an open mind. Suspend your particular bias. Don’t root for the “other guy” to be as bad as you’d hoped he’d be. Listen with “new ears.” And see who connects...
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