Today, Margaret and I visited the Grand Canyon.
To say it was an awesome experience is genuinely an understatement. Let me try and give you at least a flavour of what it was like before I get to my main point.
From the car park we stepped on to the trail that would take us to the canyon rim. For some reason no one else was on that particular trail at that particular moment and consequently, in a park with several thousand visitors, we experienced a period of complete solitude.
The sun shone down from an almost cloudless sky as we ambled along the trail. A gentle breeze kept us from overheating in temperatures in the low 90s. The breeze also brought the chirruping of distant birds to our ears and wafted the scent of the pine trees into our nostrils. Once or twice we stopped on the trail to observe some deer in the woods and on one occasion to allow a baby chipmunk to skip across the trail in front of us.
If nothing else occurred it would still have been one of my most memorable days ever, but something else did occur.
We got to the point where the little trail we were on joined the main trail and as we arrived on the rim of the Grand Canyon my heart stopped and I felt a jolt inside me, a jolt in a place I never new existed, a jolt so profound that tears of joy fell from my eyes.
I don’t know if it was the breath-taking scale of the canyon, the myriad colours of the rocks, the striations that traced the contours formed millions of years in the past or if it was something deeper and more primeval.
What I do know is that I do not possess the words to describe that experience in a way that will make someone reading this blog feel the way I felt at that moment.
As a speaker I doubt that I could express my feeling in a way that would let someone feel the way that I felt at that moment, but I would have a better chance if I remember these golden rules of speaking.
When creating a speech or presentation remember to connect at every level.
What did you see? What did you hear? What did you smell? but above all – What did you feel?
That first sight of the Grand Canyon will live with me for ever. I doubt if anything else could ever have that sort of impact on me again, but I hope I am wrong.
I have come away from that experience knowing that the biggest impact comes through feelings and emotions.
When you speak to your audience or clients, remember, decisions are made at an emotional level and that is where you need to connect.