Connection is not Such a Stretch!

Sometimes our choice of words is what makes the difference between people feeling talked to or talked at. How can we connect more effectively with our audiences?

Here are some great phrases or sentence-structures to make people feel like they’re in a conversation with you – to make your audience feel like you really want them to be with you in your talk.

“You know what it’s like when…” - this is a great one if you’re talking to people in the same industry or who are likely to have had a common experience. Penny used this in her conference talk to HR managers about doing employee surveys – “You know what it’s like to get everyone to complete a survey!” This simple sentence shows she’s remembered who she’s talking to and she’s connecting with them on a very special level of common experience.

If you can see people smiling at a humorous story – acknowledge it with: “You probably know where I’m going with this….”

Other “long-reach” phrases include:

“I don’t know if you’ve ever had that experience where you….”
“We tend to assume that …. Don’t we?”
“I think we can all agree that ….”
“I don’t know about you, but I …..”
“You might think…”

These are all sentence structures that acknowledge a listener and remind the audience that you are aware you’re talking to feeling, thinking, conscious beings!

If you’re trying to move people to a new point of view, connect with them with an acknowledgement long-reach phrase:

“You may feel xyz and I did too – until I learned that ….”
“This may feel a little out of your comfort zone, but I’d really encourage you to try it because ….”

Try using these phrases in your presentations and see if you notice a difference in response. People generally feel more connected when they feel you really are talking to them and not just “getting through a presentation.” It’s a win-win for everyone if you work on your connection techniques!

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