3 Secrets To Powerful Communication

March 10, 2011 — 9 Comments

Every communicator, every preacher, and every speaker, needs to understand something called the RAS.

RAS: Your Reticular Activating System
At the back of your brain at your brain stem is a filter that God put in your brain to keep you from having to consciously respond to every stimuli – everything you see, taste, touch, smell, and feel. Your body is constantly taking in incredible amounts of information from your five senses. If you had to consciously respond to every sight and every sound in life, you‘d go crazy.

So God put a filter in your brain (you can find this in any neurology textbook). It‘s called the Reticular Activating System. If something is going to get your attention, it has to get through that filter before it does so.

3 Things Get Our Attention
Scientists have done study after study on this and discovered that there are three things that get our attention. Three things get through our brain’s filter. This has profound implications for preaching and teaching, because if you want to keep people‘s attention, and want them to remember what you say, you have to know what gets through that filter.

Scientists discovered the things that get our attention are:

1. Things that are unusual – Marketing and business guru Seth Godin uses the illustration of a purple cow. If you’re driving down the road and pass a field with cows in it, you’re not going to think much about it. You’ve seen cows a thousand times. Your RAS will filter it out immediately. But if you drive past a solid purple cow, you’re definitely going to notice! Why? Because it’s different; it’s unusual.

2. Things that threaten us – God programmed our brains to take care of us, so your RAS immediately gives highest priority to anything it senses could be a threat or danger.

3. Things we value – A conversation about scrapbooking puts me to sleep. But a conversation about golf- I’m all ears! Why? Because I could care less about one and I’m passionate about the other. It’s relevant to me. I value it.

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How are these three things the key to good public speaking? Because a truly great presentation always contains these three things. And an ineffective one never does.
So here’s how to become a dramatically more powerful and effective speaker:

>>Things that are unusual – Present your material in a unique way. Don’t take the assumed route. Don’t do the same thing as everyone else. Find a different angle. Surprise your audience by presenting expected content in unexpected ways.

>>Things that threaten us – Show your audience the danger of not heeding your call to action (and every presentation should have a call to action). Show them how it matters in their life. How it effects them practically. This is what makes your message hit home.

>>Things we value – Your message needs to be more than concepts and ideas. Put skin on it. Stories and illustrations are great ways to do this. Show them why they should care by showing how it applies to life.

We forget over 95% of what we hear within 72 hours. As a public speaker, that can be depressing! But the RAS is our secret weapon. And by using it, you will capture the attention of your audience, speak relevant content in a powerful way, and cause them to remember it!

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What makes a great message great? How will you incorporate these 3 things? Comment Here

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  • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

    Sweet! I can comment now! This was a great post! It’s important to know the techniques and strategies to engage your audience!

    • http://joshuamhood.com Josh Hood

      I’m glad the comment system is working for you now!
      And you’re right, it’s import to know how to engage our audience. If we
      don’t, we’re simply wasting our time and theirs.

  • Anonymous

    Engaging and connecting to an audience is key to speaking. Thanks for sharing. 

    • http://joshuamhood.com Josh Hood

      I agree, Dan. The great speakers seem to be the ones who really CONNECT with
      those they are speaking to.

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  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com Michele Cushatt

    Interesting! Love the science behind this. It seems “The things that threaten us” and “The things we value” are ways we connect with our audience. If we understand the threats (another way to say what they need most)  and what matters to them in their story, we can craft a message that makes a difference to their lives today. That’s the only reason we should really be speaking in the first place. As for the purple cow, that’s the package. And the fun part! 

    • http://joshuamhood.com Josh Hood

      Exactly! You said in one paragraph what I tried to say in a 500 word blog
      post! Thanks for your input :)

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