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The Three Blind Mice of Public Speaking

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Three blind mice
Three blind mice
See how they run
See how they run
The all run after the farmer’s wife
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife
Did you ever seen such a thing in your life
As three blind mice
Three blind mice

We all have blind spots when it comes to our own business, and this is as true of public speakers as it is of any entrepreneur. These blind spots are the blind mice, so to speak, of your speaking career. Do you have any of these rodents running around your business’s barn?

#1: A blurry “ideal audience” definition
If you don’t know who you should be talking to, how do you expect your audience to know they should be listening to you?

Many entrepreneurs, small business owners and public speakers fear narrowing their audience too much, so they create vague, blurry descriptions of their audience like “women who want more joy in their life” or “people who want to feel empowered.”

The thing is, you have a core audience that can be very specifically described. And that’s who you need to be targeting your marketing toward. Rest assured that people who don’t fit your core market exactly, but have similar interests will find you, too.

Think of it this way, when you focus your marketing on your most ideal audience, you make your marketing easier and you more powerfully attract those who will most resonate with your message and contribute to your success and prosperity.

Take a look at this illustration: When you market to your ideal core audience, you will not only end up speaking in front of them, but the larger, less targeted audiences, as well. The difference is, when you tightly focus your marketing on that core audience, your marketing becomes easier to do. Target it to your secondary or peripheral audiences and you run the risk of not attracting any audience at all!

#2: An obtuse topic
The worst thing you can do is talk about something your audience doesn’t care about … even if they should care about it. There are two ways your topic could be too obtuse or obscure for your audience:

  1. You are so knowledgeable about the topic that you go right to the core message and skip over the things people need to know before they understand they need to care about that core message.
     
  2. You’ve picked a message that is too fringe for there to be a large enough audience to support you talking about it.

The first reason is very common, especially among coaches and holistic practitioners. Take a step back … what background does your ideal core audience have in this topic? What are their main concerns about the topic? You may know they need to be drinking alkalized water, but they may be stuck on why they get headaches so often and have frequent heartburn. You need to walk people from where they are now, to where you want them to be … not jump to the end.

The second reason is easy to fall prey to because we are all passionate about something. And often, when in the “throes” of that intense interest, it can be easy to forget that those around us don’t share that same interest. Take a look at your topic: is it too nichey? Is there a way you can broaden it so that you attract a large enough audience while still staying true to your core? Maybe there is another way to frame your topic so that it appeals to a broader audience, while keeping the same basic content?

#3: Speaking in tongues your audience doesn’t understand
Always keep in mind that your audience probably isn’t as integrated with your topic as you are. Be aware of jargon and esoteric language that talks above their head. Don’t be too academic when you’re on stage … bring the language down to solid, Germanic terms that most people can understand.

Also, keep in mind that your ideal core audience might not be initiated into the “geek speak” of your topic. Gently bring them in by defining topic-specific terms … and don’t use too many of them or you might scare off your audience!

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About the author

Carma Spence, The Own Your Awesome Mentor, is author of Public Speaking Super Powers. She is fiercely committed to guiding women to Owning their Awesome and turning it into a profitable business. She is masterful at helping her clients see what is possible for them and supporting them on the journey from where they are to where they want to be, releasing the Mind Goblins of self-doubt, self-sabotage and second-guessing that keep them stuck.

With 20+ years experience in marketing communications and public relations, natural intuitive skills and certification in using some of the most effective transformational coaching tools available, Carma’s mission and commitment is to unleash the inner power every woman entrepreneur possesses so they can boldly go out into the world, transforming the fabric of people’s lives in meaningful and positive ways.

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Her website is CarmaSpence.com.