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How To Talk to Anyone. Really.

A few months ago I found myself backstage with a best selling author and all-around genuinely nice guy in California.

In the 3 minutes he had before his presentation, he offered a simple acronym I still pass along to most first-timers I meet at networking events — and the occasional folks plagued with I-Don’t-Have-Anything-To-Talk-About-But-Me.

“SPEAK,” he said, “S.P.E.A.K. Story, Passion, Encourage, Assist, Knowledge.”

Hear their Story. “What’s your story?” They came from somewhere; they’re going somewhere. Find out more!

Listen to their Passions: “What are you passionate about?” We’re all opinionated about something. Find out what makes them tick.

Encourage them: “Now that I’ve heard your story and your passions, it sounds like you’d be good at ____.” Exercise your listening skills. If you’ve been paying attention this will either make them cry “Aha!” or “Exactly!” (That’s the part we’re especially fond of.)

Offer to Assist: Do you know someone they should meet? Do you have an awesome new app that would solve all their problems? Offer your help. Don’t be stingy. You always have something you can give back.

Have them share some Knowledge: “What’s the best advice you would share with the world from your experience?”

Guess what people find most relevant? Themselves. Everyone can talk about themselves.

Making relevant video content is no different.

Speaking to a very specific audience, addressing them appropriately, and and inspiring them — will lose nearly all its steam if you’re constantly waving the “Me Me Me” flag.

Talk to your audience. Ask questions. They’re real people; talk with them, not *at* them.

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