Friday, September 4, 2009

What's the Big Deal About Values, Beliefs, and Attitudes?

We've devoted the last three or four blogs to this complex relational chain at work inside our listeners—values, beliefs, and attitudes. Not much fun. Great for people training to be shrinks, but not much fun for people training for sales, law enforcement, nursing, teaching, or operating small businesses. Why all the fuss?

Because this is how human beings work, at least in a rudimentary way. Anyone wanting to become a public speaker, to inform, persuade, or entertain others, should understand at least this much. And because, when you learn to see the world this way, the reaction of listeners to your ideas will not longer be a mystery.

As you talk your way to success, you should know how you are impacting your listeners. Remember that in our opening blog we agreed that the basic recipe for public speaking is:
  • present an idea
  • provide support
  • draw a conclusion
Here's the good news. Each step in that recipe relates directly to the way your listeners feel, think, and act. Here's how:
  • Ideas clarify values.
  • Support changes beliefs.
  • Conclusions guide attitudes.
Learning Activity

Write the three bullet points above in your public speaking journal. We'll be working on a better understanding of this scheme as we go along.

An Example

Suppose you are sharing this idea with your listeners: "There is great undiscovered talent in common people."

Values related in the idea: Talent, Common people
Listener beliefs:
  • Kids from privileged backgrounds get more breaks.
  • It costs a lot to develop world-class talent.
  • People with real talent get discovered early.
Support you provide for your idea: The Susan Boyle story (see the video clip by Britain's Got Talent as shown on YouTube).

Your conclusion: "There is great undiscovered talent in common people. Be open to receive it."
Audience attitude: Greater openness to recognize talent in common people. Greater appreciation for common people.

© Frank Richardson, 2009.

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