When I was young my folks were missionaries in Monrovia, Liberia in Africa and ran a home with 33 kids. During our time there, I contracted Malaria and was rushed back to the United States for care. It was very serious, but I pulled through.
After being healed, as I grew, there were no lasting effects for me physically in anyway. As a kid, I never really thought about it – until I went to a fair with my aunt when I was 11 years old. I don’t have many standout memories at that age, but I do remember her saying “If you eat too much sugar your Malaria will come back.”
What? I loved candy, especially chocolate. How could something so wonderful make me so sick again after being healthy for so long? I remember pausing to let it sink in and really turned it over and over in my mind. I tried to shrug it off, but for some reason I just couldn’t.
Her message stuck.
Was it true? I had no idea. Maybe she was teasing me to get me to cut back on eating so much candy. Maybe it was true, maybe it wasn’t. I don’t know. What I do know, it was a sticky message.
Today at 51, I still remember her saying that to me and I do remember being cautious about what I ate when it came to a lot of sweets from then on. Did I quit? Oh, heck no, after all I was a kid! However, I usually thought about that warning as I unwrapped those treats and wondered what might happen.
I’m sharing this with you, because we all have a message to share. Getting that message to stick with the right person, with the right audience, can be tricky. Do you have to use a method such as that of my aunt? Scare tactics, really, am I right? No, you don’t have to scare people, but if you can connect with a pre-existing pain point, you will make a connection and your message will stick. Don’t create pain for gain. Rather, you’re seeking to uncover and understand the pain that may already be there, so you can connect and then serve that person or audience.
Research your audience to get to know them well. Know what they like, and be sure to know what they don’t like. Ask the planner if you may do a poll before you go to the event to speak. Know their pain points. Know what they need. Commit to connecting on a level that you know they will understand, feel and that they will react to. Compel them to take action by planting that sticky-seed-of-a-message like only you can for them. As it grows, so will your speaking business.
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