Not many levers and influences compare to that of moving the middle. As a business leader, you want to move the mid-level producers to a higher level. If you follow politics, you’d know that it’s getting increasingly important to move the voters in the middle. And it has often been said that a strong middle class is a key to a good economy. Bottom line? There’s power in the middle.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog about public speaking and I wanted to provide you with some more information and perspective as it relates to moving the middle. It’s one thing to get yourself prepared for that presentation, but when it’s your turn to go and you’re in front of that group, there’s an important occurrence that’s going to take place whether you like it or not. When we were kids, our teachers and parents would say repeatedly, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” So, what do people do? Well, just that. They automatically instinctively judge a book by its cover. That’s the easiest way to make a judgment, good or bad, and to do anything more than that takes work. Your brain wants the laziest and easiest way to make decisions so that it can conserve energy. Our brains are very efficient, which is why we need to push ourselves to learn new things or not take shortcuts every time they are presented. So the shortest and easiest way for our brains to work is to make snap judgments.
Now in that short judgment phase, in the first few seconds, you’re going to quickly form 3 groups in your audience. These numbers haven’t been verified by Gallup but many speakers agree with what I’m about to share.
In those brief moments, about a third of the group will decide that THEY LOVE YOU! You can do no wrong! Well, I take that back, you can probably do something wrong but you’d have to be trying to do so. They hang on every word that you speak! Yay! Thank goodness for these people.
Another third…wha, wha, wha. THEY’RE NOT GOING TO LIKE YOU! Heck, you could shoot yourself out of a circus caon through a flaming ring and land some 75 yards away into a net and these people would react with, ‘Eh. I’ve seen better.’ Don’t worry about these folks. Don’t ask them to leave, but don’t worry about them. They’ll always be there.
The last group is in the MIDDLE. They’re going to make their decision based on how you make them feel and the information and presentation that you deliver. Ahhhhhh, there’s hope. The title Moving the Middle hits home now, right?
So, make the best first impression that you can solidify your top third and give yourself a chance with the middle third. Try to earn the support of as many middle followers that you can during the presentation. For the bottom third, it’s ok… If you’re lucky, you’ll get a few that eventually like you. But think about this… even the comedian who you absolutely love, the comedian who makes you laugh uncontrollably, isn’t necessarily fuy to some of your closest friends. Yes, it’s true, you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
Now go work on getting those two-thirds and MOVE as many of the MIDDLE that you can!
If you’d like some more speaking tips, click on the link to grab a copy of ‘Five Ways to Start a Presentation’ Cheat Sheet
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