Teach Them

Making Speaking Magical: part 6

If you teach them the facts, you clarify the focus.

Remember Aristotle? I mentioned his work On Rhetoric in the first Trick of this series.

Way back in the 4th century he discovered three essential skills for communicators to possess in order to persuade the audience of a certain point: Pathos (emotion), Logos (logic), and Ethos (credibility). We introduced the value of Pathos with our discussion about captivating storytelling. Now, let’s add Logos to our Bat-tool-belt as we communicate not simply to appeal to the emotions of our audience but also their fact-hungry mind. 

Teaching them is an immediate grounding technique.

When your audience can otherwise feel like you are floating them around in your swirling ocean of new ideas, some logical thought will anchor them back to grounded reality and give them something to hang their hat on. (How’s THAT for mixing metaphors?!).

Did you know, 65% of speakers mix metaphors when trying to make a single point? That’s not entirely true, but it sure feels like it. And if it was true, you would begin filtering this new information, wondering if you are in the 65 or the 35.

Well placed facts make your audience think.

I have had this idea of Making Speaking Magical in my head for about 4 years now, but I wasn’t willing to begin producing it in any significant way until I had some grounding for it. That’s when all the talk about our brains and memory came into the picture.

See, I’ve been speaking for over 16 years and have thus picked up specific tricks and techniques that seem to land best with the audience. However, merely passing those learned skills on to you isn’t strong enough. My ideas need an anchor to clarify the focus; what is different about these tricks and why do they work so well?

Now, I believe as we understand how the brain works to capture and filter memories, we will become more effective at communicating ideas to be remembered while sparking greater transformation than we ever thought possible. That is the power of logos

As a communicator, what are you doing to help your audience see the real-life consequences of your ideas? 

Here’s 3 ways to ground your audience by teaching them the facts:


Use a name as a climax to your captivating story. Instead of stating the historical figure’s name up front and proceeding to tell their story of significance, tell the story in a captivating way, and drop the name at the end. For instance, "...the man who saved those 12 cats from the tree would later go on to become Prime Minister, he is none other than Justin Trudeau. In his biography, he mentioned thede cats as the moment he knew he could be the leader of a nation." *gasp*

A story which the audience may thought fabricated becomes valuable now as a familiar name is attached to it. Talk about a specific person rather than generalities; your audience will love the practicality of having one name to remember. 


“There are a lot of Canadians that are losing their hair.”  Ok, how many? Just men, or women too? What kind of hair-loss? GIVE ME SOME NUMBERS! (But not too many, and if you’re going to put it into a graph of some kind, it better be a pie shape).

Instead of giving them 5 different numbers associated with 5 different points, which will confuse them and switch their brains into auto-pilot, give them one big number to make your point then shrink that down to understand in a practical way.

To say, "2 million Canadian men suffer from male-pattern baldness," may be true. But you can ground that by saying, "that’s 1 in every 19 people in this room," and then you could get them to look at the person to their left to see if they are the one. You turned the abstract into concrete - so concrete that your audience is now part of your statistic. 

Next Steps

Provide something for your audience to do with your idea. You have just inspired them to action, but they have nothing logical to move forward with. Ideas are great. Ideas can transform, but when ideas are grounded with a logical next step you are giving your ideas even more opportunity to reach beyond this moment into the lives of your audience forever.

Your main idea, “Go out and love your neighbour,” is a very good point to make but, “Write down the name of a family you can invite over for dinner. After this session call them and set up a date,” is so practical it’s impossible to miss the point of how simple it is to love your neighbours. 

Typically, we avoid this trick. Well, either that or we spend our whole talk in it.

Communicators shy away from attempting to teach any logical facts because they are not ‘experts’ on the subject they are talking about, or alternatively, they are experts and feel like it is in everyone’s best interest to dump as much information on the audience as possible in the time frame. Neither one of these approaches makes for a particularly memorable moment. 

If you’re afraid of teaching them believe me, this is a lot more simple than you might think - begin small by doing some quick research on your topic (be careful about grounding your logic on anything found in Wikipedia though). Do some research to find reliable statistics associated with your idea, or any famous names which have touched on it, or if there are ways to demonstrate how your idea will change lives if implemented.

When you teach them well, you clarify the focus to make it memorable.