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When speaking is a hostage situation

We had a fascinating conversation in the online Present Like a Pro online class today...

So many presenters are forced to present in what is best described as a hostage situation, ouch.

This occurs because the meeting planner or boss made the meeting "mandatory" or because attendees feel that they are forced to be there.

One way to overcome the hostage scenario is to arrange "Stockholm Syndrome," a bonding between the perceived captor (the speaker) and the captives (the attendees).

Jan-Erik Olsson, Stockholm Syndrome
Jan-Erik Olsson

Stockholm Syndrome got it's name from a six-day bank robbery by escaped convict, Jan-Erik Olsson in Sweden in 1973.

Within months of the siege, psychiatrists dubbed the strange phenomenon of psychological alliance as “Stockholm Syndrome.”

The phrase became rooted in the lexicon the following year when it was used as a defense for the kidnapped newspaper heiress Patty Hearst, who assisted her captors in a series of bank robberies.

After the bank robbery in Sweden, Olsson's captives would not testify against him. Instead, they started raising money for his defense.

When Olsson was returned to prison, the hostages made jailhouse visits to their former captor.

Ethan Hawke Stockholm Syndrome
Ethan Hawke in "Stockholm"

(Ethan Hawke stars in a new-ish movie about the bank robbery titled, Stockholm.)

Upon his release from prison in 1980, he married one of the many women who sent him admiring letters while he was incarcerated. He then moved to Thailand and in 2009 released his autobiography, entitled--you guessed it-- Stockholm Syndrome.

I'll bet ol' Jan even hit the keynote circuit... where he spoke at industry trade shows to audience members who were forced to be there.

Bonding with your audience

Drama aside, it's important to relate to your audience when speaking and presenting.

There are lots of ways to do this, including:

  • Advise the meeting planner in advance

  • Pre-selling

  • Signature stories

  • "Yes" questions

  • Audience interaction

  • Clever use of break time

  • Being a really good communicator

Let's get you trained up so that every audience is getting the most from your presentations.

Let's talk about what's possible.

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