March 3, 2017 fm

What Speakers Can Learn From Google

It is an art. Getting top ranks for your links on Google is an art. In the past I have worked with numerous search engine optimizers. You need the skills of ten Dr. Sheldon Lee Coopers to get anywhere near the top. But all the mathematical metrics aside, what is the number one reason to be ranked on top of Google? Relevance.

Google nailed it. The more relevant the search results are for you, the more likely it is that you like them and will return.

Do speakers nail it too when they present something? Do they manage to place their message on top of the audience’s endless list of content? Do they consider the factor relevance at all? In too many cases the answer is a triple No.

Google acknowledges the factor relevance, and you as a speaker should do exactly the same. The more relevant your message for your audience, the more they will care for it. And the more likely it is that they will act upon your speech.

Here are seven ways to make your speech and message more relevant to your audience. They work on a stand-alone basis or in combination. I have never encountered a speech that was too relevant for me.

Rhetorical questions

Wouldn’t you agree that global warming and its disastrous effects affect the life of each and every single one in this room?

 You think, Yes. Check! Once you agree, the speech topic of global warming is (more) relevant to you.

A bold promise

After my presentation, you will change the way you look at your own personal well-being.

A bold promise makes them listen to you. But make sure you keep your promise!

I need your help

Guys, I need your help.

Empathy is a value that is not equally distributed across mankind. But many of us tend to be kind when someone asks for help. We want to help, and that makes the speech more relevant to us.

Higher purpose

We’re not doing this for our city. We’re not doing this for our community. We’re doing this for our children and our children’s children.

A higher purpose triggers emotions in the audience. When we are emotionally attached to a topic, it becomes more relevant to us. Many of history’s great speeches incorporate a higher purpose.

Social proof

In the run-up to this presentation, a good part of you guys came to me and gave fantastic feedback on the strategic roadmap I’m going to lay out today. Thank you for that. 

One of Robert Cialdini’s six key principles of influence is social proof. Think about Nespresso and George Clooney. If he likes it, I want to try it too. Hence the topic becomes more relevant to me.

A shared problem

We all here in the room – as a team – face a big challenge. We still don’t believe in the potential of the people sitting next to us. And that is what I call a problem.

There is no need to present a solution if there is no problem. Entrepreneurs know that when they pitch their business ideas to potential investors. In terms of relevance, the problem becomes even “better”, if it affects most people in the audience.


The idea I’m going to share with you this morning offers a great benefit to you: You’ll have more time for your family.

Good salespeople never sell a product or service by explaining their features. They always sell the benefits. People, for instance, do not buy a drilling machine. They buy the hole in the wall. Benefits make our lives better; we like them; they are relevant to us.

Rhetorical questions, a bold promise, the need for help, a higher purpose, social proof, a shared problem or benefits – make sure you make your speech and your message relevant to your audience. Be inspired by Google, because relevance is their primary goal.

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