Your Intended Message

Speak from the Emotional Perspective of the Audience: Neil Gordon

December 23, 2021

To connect with your audience, they must realise that you understand them and care

Neil Gordon reveals the Silver Bullet of speaking.


We explore:

  • The problem that experts and knowledgeable speakers face
  • Why and how to take the focus off you and focus on your audience
  • How to make that emotional connection 
  • How to distill that complicated message into a silver bullet
  • The power of one idea
  • Valuing the listener more than the speaker
  • The fallacy about information


Neil Gordon is a former editor at Penguin Book where he worked with New York Times bestselling authors. Neil helps speakers transform their audiences into audiences that are attentive, transfixed, hungry and empowered. Neil wasn't a natural with words. For most of his first 20 years, he abhorred reading. Then a switch flipped and he pursed writing and speaking with a vengeance.

Neil says there are 5 types of public speakers. Which are you? Take the free quiz here

Public Speaker Type Quiz

Learn more about Neil Gordon, his pubic speaking programs and the free introductory course here.

Neil Can Help



Excerpts from this discussion with Neil Gordon:


One of the things that so many speakers struggle with George is that they know a lot, a lot, a lot of information, they have a lot of knowledge, they've been developing their expertise for often decades.

But the larger issue they face is that they basically have forgotten what it's like not to know something. And then they go out on stage, or they give a virtual presentation, and they do what we call the show up and throw up.

They just vomit out all of their information. They cram. If they have 45 minutes to talk, they cram as much of their content into that 45 minutes as they can.

But for a person who doesn't know what they know, right, who is a newbie who is a beginner at whatever their subject matter expertise is, they might find value in all of that content.

But because learning is so metabolically expensive, it can be overwhelming. And then the friction comes when they don't actually look like they don't actually make anything actionable.

Once the talk is over and saying, Oh, that was really good. And then they move on, they really forgotten about it.

I know that I've been in an audience member like that many times over where I appreciated the value that they had to share. But I just couldn't sort it out in my own mind. And I couldn't make it actionable. Or at least I didn't. 



And when you talk when you coach a speaker, do they push back and say, but I can't leave something out? What if I leave something out? And they think I don't know.



Yeah. And what you are highlighting there, George is a larger issue that so many experts have and it's not even just picking on experts, people are like this, in general, is that they go about solving a problem from their perspective.

A person is going up on stage and they're thinking, Am I going to seem authoritative enough? Are people going to be paying attention? Are they going to have me back? Am I going to get Am I being paid enough for this? Or how do I actually get paid for this?

They're focused on their stuff. But effective communication values the recipient over the sender and they focus on the audience



How do we transfix the audience?

But the opening of a talk is sort of like the start of a race. A race has this really high point of tension...

On your mark, get set. And that moment, right between get set and go or the gun going off, is that highest point of tension, because anything can happen.

Anything is possible, but nothing yet has. And similarly at the start of a talk, you've walked out on stage, you're there, your audience is there, nothing has happened yet.

Anything is possible. It's very pregnant, a point of tension.

Versus saying, Oh, thank you so much. It's so nice to be here does is it squanders that tension and disperses it.

And one of my favourite examples is a former client of mine, and she had this big national keynote for her for company's national conference. And she just started with,

"A longtime friend of mine didn't know what to do."

And that was it. And at that point, you could hear the pin drop, because she took all that tension and she harnessed it.



I will give one piece of advice, per your question, George.

And that is to become absolutely religious, about the problems that your participants your employees are experiencing.

As they understand it, and to create your message as an extension of solving those problems to whatever extent you have the capacity to do.

And so again, people are most likely to embrace the solution must provide within the context of a problem they care about solving.

And if your solution, your vision for the company for the next quarter is a certain thing, they will get on board, much more likely to get on board, if you first help them to feel seen and heard.

It starts with the problem as they understand it.

You learn what are you guys struggling with right now? What does it feel like for you? And then you talk about that at the beginning, and then artfully transition into things from your own perspective, and they'll come along with you for the ride.


Your Intended Message is the podcast about how you can boost your career and business success by honing your communication skills. We’ll examine the aspects of how we communicate one-to-one, one to few and one to many – plus that important conversation, one to self.

In these interviews we will explore presentation skills, public speaking, conversation, persuasion, negotiation, sales conversations, marketing, team meetings, social media, branding, self talk and more.


Your host is George Torok

George is a specialist in communication skills. Especially presentation. He’s fascinated by the links between communication and influencing behaviours. He delivers training and coaching programs to help leaders and promising professionals deliver the intended message for greater success.


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