When planting points an audience doesn’t want to hear, try veering off to the side and then circling back.

Here’s How: 

Rather than plowing straight ahead, first use a seemingly unrelated example to get the audience to buy into the underlying concept. Then circle back and show that concept also applies to their situation.

The Backstory:

I stumbled on this idea 25 years ago, when I was simultaneously challenged to create two presentations to be delivered multiple times. At first blush, the only thing the assignments seem to have in common was that both messages would challenge an existing belief system and long-standing standard of practice. The assignments were:

1. Get health professionals to consider supplementing their traditional practice with alternative medicine.

2. Encourage life insurance agents to offer their clients investments such as mutual funds.

The Strategy:

With life agents, I started by talking about the changes in health care. Specifically, how allopathic medicine (that’s MD medicine) came to dominate health care because it best met the major health challenges of much of the 20th century: Mortality.  Specifically, far too many people were dying in the prime of life from infectious disease, war and accidents. If you have a gun shot wound, you want an MD, not an acupuncturist or a chiropractor.

Then, I pointed out that while mortality is still an issue in the 21st century, the aging population faces another challenge: Morbidity. We have extended the ride of life, but it can get pretty bumpy as we age. As a result, MDs owe it to their patients to expand their definition of health care to include different approaches. I added a few quips to lighten the mood, the life agents bought into the concept.

Then, and only then, I pointed out the parallel with their world. Life insurance became the great industry it is because it met the most significant financial challenge facing families for much of the 20th century: Mortality. Human issues aside, for most families, the premature death of the sole bread-winning father was a financial catastrophe.

As in health care, times changed. Premature death declined significantly  and sole bread-winning fathers have become the exception. As a result, the greatest risk most families face today is not dying too soon, but living too long. The risk of outliving one’s money – Financial Morbidity – is an investment risk. Life insurance agents owe it to their clients to offer solutions that can help reduce that risk.

It worked.

As you might guess, when I spoke to health professionals, I led with the life insurance story.

That worked too.  What works for you?

Hall of Fame speaker Alan Parisse has been coaching presenters and delivering keynotes for over 25 years. Named “One of the Top 21 Speakers for the 21st Century” by Successful Meetings Magazine, he is a keynote speaker for a wide variety of industries and organizations. Alan is a passionate presentation coach to executives, financial advisors, sports stars and sales presenters.