Depending on who you ask, it has been said that the average person has between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts per day. Our brain is one powerful information processing machine. 

It’s easy to be aware of our own monologue and internal conversations taking place in our head, but have you ever delivered a keynote, presentation or speech in a room full of people and thought to yourself, “what on earth are these people thinking right now?” 

I don’t have time to share all 1,041-1,458 thoughts that people have during a 30min presentation, but I can give you four questions that they will ask every time you get up to speak:

1.) Do You Believe This?

This is a question of energy.

When you speak, people want to know that you stand by your words. There is something contagious about the passion and energy a person exudes when they are convinced of their content and message. It is also glaringly obvious when a person is delivering a message they do not personally endorse.

Build Conviction. Passion is not just seen in volume, but it is seen in value. If you want to become passionate about your content, understand deeply why it is valuable to you and to others. 

2.) Do I Believe You? 

This is a question of authenticity. 

An audience would rather a speaker who is raw but authentic over a speaker who is polished but fake. Ultimately people want to connect with you but they can’t do that if you’re trying to be somebody else.

Avoid Comparison. The best pathway to authenticity is being comfortable in your own skin. Find how you communicate most naturally, own it, then keep growing.  

3.) Do You Care About Me? 

This is a question of generosity. 

Is your content seeking or serving? Are you sharing this information because you believe it will serve and benefit those who are listening. Or are you sharing this information with the sole intent of seeking something from them? As the popular saying goes “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.  

Deliver Value. Whether it is a sales pitch, department update or change process, focus on adding value first, before asking for anything in return.   

4.) Do You Understand Me?

This is a question of empathy. 

People want to know that you’ve done the work to understand them. It means answering the “what’s in it for me” question before you get in the room. Empathy has been described as the ability to sit in someone’s shoes and see things from their perspective. It is the ability to find the connection between your content and their real challenge. 

Show Understanding. Do the work required to know how your big message is relevant to their key challenge. 

Answer these questions in your next meeting or presentation and you are one step closer to building a stronger and more authentic connection with your audience.