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D'you know what I mean?

D'you know what I mean?

Published: Mar 23rd, 2022 11:10 PM

“Do you speak ‘Audience’?”

What on earth do I mean by that?

Think of it this way… would you go to France and expect everyone to speak English (I’m assuming I’m talking to an English-speaking audience, here)?

I have to confess that I have witnessed a lot of Brits on holiday in mainland Europe speaking LOUDLY and SLOWLY in English and expecting the natives to understand and respond in English.

This says more about the speaker’s lack of homework and the expectation that the audience will adapt to their way of communicating.

The same goes when speaking!

Know your audience.

If you are speaking at a corporate gig, do your homework on the company and use illustrations that will resonate with them, that they recognise, that they can relate to, that make sense to them…

Oh, and while you’re at it, use words that appeal to the 4 sensory modes of processing info as I have just done:

“Resonate” for the auditory thinkers. There are words that appeal to those who prefer sound/frequency related words eg “ring true”, “ping me a message” etc.

“Recognise” for the visual thinkers - those who like things to be “obvious”, “clearly” explained etc.

“Relate to” for the kinaesthetic or feely thinkers - those that like to “grasp”, “follow” what you are saying etc.

“Make sense of things” for the digital or “thinky thinkers” i.e. the logical thinkers - those that like to “understand”, “learn” etc.

What we’re looking at here is the ~10% verbal component of your presentation.

Knowing your audience,

what makes them tick (auditory word there), if there are any industry “Jargon” words/terms you could slip in to show your empathy with them, (remember speaking is about building a relationship with your audience), what stories will keep them engaged is really important to the success of your presentation, your call to action... and your chances of being booked again!

Whilst you can do your homework re the industry, jargon, stories to illustrate etc you won’t know the individuals ahead of time so as you are planning out your presentation make sure to pepper it with all four kinds of words.


If this concept of sensory words is new to you, listen out this week for examples in yourself and in those you talk to.

We each have a preferred style even although we use all four.

What are YOUR favourite ways to describe something?

I know I’m predominantly a visual thinker with a strong thinky streak too!

Have some fun with this and note down your nearest and dearest to practice adapting your language so you speak their language and see what an impact it makes to you getting your message across successfully!

Being aware of different language patterns and learning to adapt YOUR language will mean the difference between being an OK speaker and one who is in great demand as you have a profound impact on your audience.