The Big Promise Is The Most Important Sentence Of Your Entire Presentation.
Read that last sentence again. It’s most important because it sets up the reason your audience members should listen to the rest of your speech. It usually comes after your initial opening story (or startling statement, powerful question, etc.) and leads your audience into the body of the speech. If this sentence does not hook them in, they will mentally tune you out and leave you wondering why. Let’s look at an example of a Big Promise that I use with managers:
“In the next 45 minutes, you will pick up tools to create commitment, not just compliance, from your employees. You’ll discover ways to increase employee retention, raise the morale through the roof, relieve your stress, and become the leader others want to follow.”
There it is, the entire reason my audience should take this journey with me. The Big Promise tells them exactly what they will walk away with by the end of your presentation. Please notice that I didn’t phrase it like many speakers do, which is in the following manner:
“Today I would like to share with you tools to create commitment…”
Guess what? Nobody cares what you’d like to share with them. What people do care about is what they are going to receive. Therefore, whenever you find yourself saying something like, “I am going to share…,” say instead, “You are going to receive…” or “You are going to pick up…” or “You will walk out of here with…” Again, in speaking, the most important word you can use it you. Take careful pains to make sure you use it often within your Big Promise. Two outstanding ways to phrase the beginning of your Big Promise are the following:
1. In the next 45 minutes (or whatever length of speech you have) you will pick up…
Note: What is the difference between these two phrases: “you will pick up tools…” and “you will get the strategies…” The difference is that “you will pick up tools…” creates more of a picture than “you will get the strategies.” Use words that create pictures. You can picture a tool, but what does a strategy look like?
2. You will walk out of these doors today with the tools you need to…
Note: “Walk out of here with tools…” creates a picture in your audience’s mind.
The key to your Big Promise is that it must pass the “Who Cares?” test. You will want to test your Big Promise out on some people to make sure it sells. You will need to change it if your audience members ask, “Who cares?” Your goal is to get your audience members to think, “Tell me more.” Just as your initial 30 seconds is designed to get your audience to listen to your Big Promise, your Big Promise is designed to get your audience members to at least stick with you while you transition to your first point.
Create the Big Promise First
One of the very best strategies you can use to create a World Class Speech is to create the Big Promise first and then let everything fall in place around it. The reason it’s so important to write this first is because it completely determines what content you leave in your speech and what content you leave out of it. Your Big Promise is the sticky-tape to your speech. If you have content that does not support your Big Promise, scrap it. Let’s take my Big Promise stated above as an example. If I have a great story that makes a point about the importance of living your dream, guess what? That should be scrapped because it has nothing to do with creating commitment from your employees, retaining employees, relieving your stress, or raising employee morale. Because it does not stick to the Big Promise, I must toss it out no matter how good and engaging the story might be.
Here is an example of another Big Promise I use with the market of up and coming speakers:
“You will walk out of these doors today with the tools you can use to breathe life into your speeches, bring your audience to you by keeping them engaged, and build a speech that sticks so that you get brought back time and time again.”
Now it’s your turn. Take your time working on your Big Promise and fill in the blanks when you’re ready:
In the next ______ minutes, you will pick up the tools you can use to ____________, ________________, and __________________.