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    Speakers: Meet people right where they are (and there’s no place like home)

    Published on April 29, 2016

    Will your next speech be somewhere far away from home?

    If so, challenge yourself to find a link to the local region – and mention it early in your remarks to create immediate goodwill with your audience.

    Here’s how we did it for a European speaker traveling to Atlanta, Ga., for a keynote address to senior management:



    Speechwriting local detailsI must say it feels like a homecoming of sorts to be back here in Atlanta, and especially the great state of Georgia.

    You see, I have fond memories of the Peach State because my father used to own a farm in Woodbury a couple hours south of here.

    As a 10-year-old boy, I remember riding horses … branding cows … and playing cowboy.

    For me, the farm was nothing but fun!

    But for my father it was all work − especially after he learned you couldn’t make money doing the same thing every other farmer in Georgia was doing: raising and slaughtering cattle.

    So my father took action.

    He did something different.

    He decided to convert our slaughterhouse into a Muslim slaughterhouse.

    Now this made perfect business sense because my father had uncovered a niche market.

    Atlanta had a fairly large Muslim community, and many Muslims will only eat meat that is halal, which means “permissible” in Arabic.

    • First, the animal must be slaughtered while it’s still alive. 
    • Second, a Muslim must follow a ritual to perform the slaughter. 
    • And third, all the blood must drain out of the carcass so no blood is left in the meat before it’s eaten.

    I remember when our Muslim slaughterhouse was blessed and certified.

    And practically overnight, my father began earning a premium for his cattle – and our farm started making money.

    # # #

    Now I share this story with you not because I want you to stop everything you’re doing and open a Muslim slaughterhouse on the side!

    No.

    I share this story because I believe it has some important parallels to our global manufacturing business …



    In this case, the speaker had to reach back into his boyhood to make a tie to the local area, but he did it − and immediately created that all-important early connection with his audience.

    (All we did was ask one simple but important question during the speechwriting process − “Have you ever been to Atlanta?” − and promptly heard plenty of stories about Georgia and the farm that wound their way into the rest of the speech.)

    My advice to speakers: Always find a way to link yourself to your locale − wherever you happen to speak.

       



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