What Role Could A Song Play In Your Next Speech?

by drjim on February 21, 2017

Adding a song to your next speech is something your audience won't be expecting

Adding a song to your next speech is something your audience won’t be expecting
Image Credit: Ferran Jordà

I can tell you that as a speaker, every time that I take the stage, deep down inside of me I am desperately hoping that I’ll be good enough this time to hold on to my audience’s attention during the length of my speech and show them the importance of public speaking. The good new is that sometimes this does happen; however, the bad news is that sometimes it does not. What I am always looking for is a way to grab my audience’s attention and I think that I may have found it: use a song.

The Role Of Songs In Speeches

I must confess that the initial power of using a song in a speech comes from the simple fact that your audience is not going to be expecting you to use a song – their surprise will gain you their attention. There are three reasons why songs are a good fit for a speech: more often than not songs tell a story, they are generally quite short, and the best ones have an infectious melody.

Yes, you can start to sing a song at any point in your speech. However, you are also going to have to talk about that song with your audience. Songs are generally short and so you are going to have to take the time and explain the details of the song’s story to your audience. It will be important that the framework of your speech supports you telling the meaning behind the story. Where you add song to your speech matters also. Generally, using a song to transition between different parts of your speech works the best.

If you are going to sing any part of a song during your speech, you may want to consider singing the song’s chorus line. Remember that the chorus line was designed to be catchy and memorable. There is a very good chance that the chorus is the only part of the song that your audience actually remembers. The good thing about adding a chorus line to your speech is that you can borrow the song’s emotional tone and add that to your speech. If done correctly, adding a chorus line to your speech can also add some humor to the speech.

Using Soundtracks

I am more than willing to admit that I cannot sing. Now mind you, that does not mean that I will not use a speech as an excuse to belt out a tune or two. However, what I’m probably going to be getting from my audience will not be excitement and anticipation of my next song rendition, but rather a type of sympathy for someone who can’t sing but still keeps on trying.

As an alternative to trying to sing songs in my own less-than-stellar fashion, I do have a fallback that I can always rely on. What is this magical musical fallback you ask? Why it’s my old friend the soundtrack. You can find soundtracks to use just about anywhere. They come from movies, television shows, and there are even commercially released soundtrack albums. What you are going to want to do as a speaker is to use soundtracks that will remind your audience of specific points in time during their lives.

Incorporating a soundtrack into a speech is something that is done quite often by good speakers. What you want to do with a soundtrack is to use the music to invoke memories in your audience of perhaps their childhood. maybe some person that they knew, or perhaps a romantic relationship. Using a soundtrack in your speech will allow you to hold on to your audience’s attention while at the same time creating feelings of nostalgia in your audience that will cause them to do a better job of remembering what you said.

What All Of This Means For You

I’m pretty sure that when we go to the effort of giving a speech, we all want the same thing: to capture our audience’s attention and to use the benefits of public speaking to ensure that our message to be remembered after we’re done talking. In order to make this happen, we need to be memorable. One way to make this happen is to work song into your next speech.

The reason that a song can make any speech more memorable is in part because it will be unexpected –you’ll surprise your audience. The nature of a song (short stories with a tune) make them well suited to speeches; however, you will probably have to provide some background explanation when you use a song in a speech. For those of us who don’t sing, we can use songtracks. Songtracks are a great way to invoke memories in our audience and get them to remember what we are telling them.

Speakers are always looking for new tools that they can use to make their next speech even better. Using a song in your next speech can provide you with a way to make more of an impact with your speech. Pick a tune and then share it with your audience and you’ll both make beautiful music together!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: If you add music to a speech, do you think that you should use just one song or can you use multiple songs in a single speech?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Nope, I don’t think that there is anyone out there who thinks that despite the importance of public speaking that giving a speech is an easy thing to do. First there is the process that you have to go through to come up with a good idea for a speech, then you have to write the speech and this is followed by countless hours of practicing the speech and finally you have to go through the nerve racking process of actually giving the speech. Not an easy thing to do. However, working out is not an easy thing to do either. Could it be possible that giving a speech is similar to giving your brain a workout?

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The Power Of Effective Gestures

by drjim on February 14, 2017

Gestures are an important part of any speech that you give

Gestures are an important part of any speech that you give
Image Credit: John Ragai

With a little luck, by now we all know that gestures are an important part of any speech that we give. What we do with our arms, hands, face, etc. support the importance of public speaking and can either help or hinder the message that we are delivering to our audience. That’s why it’s so amazing that a lot of us just don’t quite know what to do with our arms when we are speaking. We either don’t use them (bad) or we flap them around wildly (worse). Can anyone tell us just exactly how we can go about making effective gestures?

It’s All About The Base

When we start to talk about gestures and how best to include them in a speech. our conversation needs to start by dealing with the question of what you should be doing with your arms when you are NOT making gestures. This is why we need to establish a base for your arms – a place that they can start from when you are going to be making a gesture and a place where they can return to when you are done making the gesture.

The best base for your arms is for you to allow them to dangle at your sides. Pretend that you are at a tailor and you are being fitted for a suit – this will give you a mental impression of how you are supposed to look. If it helps you to keep your hands in this position, you can gently rest your thumbs on the side of your leg. For some people, this contact helps to sooth their nerves.

When it comes time to make a gesture, you are going to have to make some effort to be seen. I like to tell my students that they are dealing with a giant 68″ HDTV that is right in front of their face. Within the frame of this TV, they need to make all of their gestures. This means that they are going to have to lift their arms up and push them out from their body. By doing this they ensure that the people in the back of the room will be able to see each of their gestures.

How To Make Effective Gestures

Once we know what to do with our arms when we’re not making gestures and we know where to make our gestures when we are making them, we next need to take a look at how to effectively make gestures. One of the things that we often don’t spend enough time thinking about are the things that we should not be doing. These are just as important as the things that we should be doing.

One thing that we need to remember to not do when we are making gestures is to point at our audience. Since we can never really tell who is in our audience, we don’t know what part of the world they might come from. In different cultures, pointing with various fingers is considered to be rude. Instead, when you need to make a pointing gesture, use your whole hand – an open hand with fingers extended. You can’t offend anyone this way.

It can be very tempting to sit down and attempt to script out your gestures. You really don’t want to do this. The reason is because if you attempt to perform the same gestures the same way each time that you give a speech, your audience is going to pick up on this. What’s going to happen is that your scripted gestures are going to make you look stiff and it’s going to cut down on your immediacy with your audience.

Finally, you don’t want to gesture too much. Remember that every time that you make a gesture, you are going to be causing your audience to take their attention off of you and what you are saying while they watch your gesture. While some of this can be good, too much can be distracting. Even worse, if you end up confusing your audience with all of your arm waving, then you will have effectively erased the benefits of gesturing for your speech.

What All Of This Means For You

So I’ve got some good new and some bad news for you. The good news is that you can make your next speech even more effective by using the benefits of public speaking and including some gestures. The bad news is that if you do your gestures wrong, you’ll end up taking away from the message that you are trying to deliver.

One of the most important things to work out when you are going to be including gestures in a speech is where your base is. This is where you’ll store your arms when you are not using them. The easiest place to put them is down by your sides. When you do go to make gestures, make them up high so that the people in the back of the room can see them. When you’re making gestures don’t point at your audience because that could be taken as being rude. Don’t script your gestures or you’ll come across as being stiff and don’t gesture too much or you might confuse your audience.

Your audience wants you to make gestures during your next speech. If you don’t then you’ll just be standing there and that will be boring for everyone. However, your gestures need to support what you are saying and you need to pick which ones to make and when to make them very carefully. Get good at making gestures and your next speech could be amazing!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: What do you think is the best way to determine if you have too many gestures in your speech?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I can tell you that as a speaker, every time that I take the stage, deep down inside of me I am desperately hoping that I’ll be good enough this time to hold on to my audience’s attention during the length of my speech and show them the importance of public speaking. The good new is that sometimes this does happen; however, the bad news is that sometimes it does not. What I am always looking for is a way to grab my audience’s attention and I think that I may have found it: use a song.

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