We see the world through the lens of influence at Klassen Performance Group. Whether polishing our own influence or helping our clients develop theirs, we focus on influence every day. I came across the video of Tom Hanks’ Golden Globes speech today. His speech and how he delivers it are a fantastic example of influence. Although Hanks uses multiple tools of influence throughout his speech, I’ll focus on just three here.
1. Make an emotional connection
Whether it’s a product, a service, or an idea, we buy from people we like. When you make an emotional connection with people, you are more likely to achieve your purpose. There are a variety of ways you can establish an emotional connection with your listeners, depending on the situation, the person, and their purpose.
Hanks clearly understands the value of making an emotional connection as he connected with his audience in multiple ways. For example, he used humor, stories, tone, and his body language to connect and deliver his message in a very genuine way that drew people in and made them want to listen. He even choked up a couple times, which only made him that much more authentic and compelling. Before you chalk it up to his acting skills, take a look at the countless actors who deliver monotone speeches that leave us waiting for the music to begin and end the speech. Tom Hanks could have talked twice as long without losing his listeners.
2. Understand and adapt to your audience
You will increase your impact substantially when you take the time to clearly understand your listeners. Consider things like what is important to them, why they would care about your message, and what they listen for. Understanding your listeners and adapting your message to deliver it in a way that meets their needs will ensure that they listen and that they get the information they need to buy in.
Tom Hanks’ speech was clearly written for the people in that room. His understanding of them enabled him to deliver an acceptance speech while also adding value to those in the room. He did this throughout, but a part that stands out was when he shared the “greatest lesson a young actor could possibly ever get”. His story described an important lesson that not only helped him become one of the best actors of our time, is was also beneficial to those in the room. He could have focused on anything during his speech; he chose to include the audience and add value to them.
3. Don’t get derailed by perfection
People often strive for perfection in a speech like this or in a presentation at work. They spend hours editing and rehearsing until it’s “just right”. The problem with that is that they lose their emotional connection with the audience and sound robotic. Over-preparing in search of perfection increases the likelihood that your listeners’ minds will wander and decreases the likelihood that you’ll achieve your desired purpose.
Hanks knew his main points and the flow of his speech but was comfortable enough to show imperfection. He stumbled, let a couple of filler words slip, teared up, and ad-libbed. All of those things made him relatable. While I’m not suggesting that you wing it, don’t let a desire for perfection derail you.
These are just three of the many ways Tom Hanks made his speech engaging and influential. You don’t have to be a professional actor or deliver a big speech to have the same impact.
We help people at all levels increase their ability to influence so they get their ideas heard in meetings, deliver high-impact presentations, and navigate high-stakes conversations like a pro.
Would you like to see how we can help you too? Schedule a free consultation with Dr. Heather Johnson and find out how to increase your ability to influence today.