We give speeches for a very specific reason. We want to be able to change lives – that’s what the importance of public speaking is all about. I’m pretty sure that we all share the same dream. We want to take the stage, share our speech with our audience, and then have them leave the room changed people (hopefully for the better). As much as we want to be able to do this, more often than any of us would really like to admit, we don’t know how to go about doing it. What we need are some pointers on how we can break through and finally really connect with our audience in order to change their lives.
It’s All About The Experience
So here’s an interesting question for you, when you are giving a speech, just exactly how are you communicating with your audience? If you think that it is only your words that they are receiving then you would be wrong. I’m pretty sure that by now we all realize that our audience’s brains will turn off if they are presented with boring material. As speakers we need to keep in mind that our audience has multiple senses: sight, sound, taste, and touch. What we are going to have to do is to touch on these other senses during our next speech.
If we can agree that creating a speech that is really a “multisensory experience” is a good thing to do, the next big question is just exactly how do we go about doing this? The answer is that you are going to have to change how you build your speech. Instead of just worrying about the words that will go into your speech, you are now going to have to make sure that your audience will be exposed to mesmerizing images, videos that capture their imagination, props that make them think, and, of course, words that are simply beautiful. One other point to realize is that if you can find a way to give your speech using different voices, that will also help to make it a true multisensory experience.
Practice, Practice, Practice
I’m pretty sure that I don’t even have to mention this one to you: your next speech will be as good as the amount of practice that you put into it. You need to make sure that you don’t wait up until the last minute to write your speech otherwise you won’t have the time left that you’ll need to do a good job of practicing your speech.
Your goal needs to be to practice your speech so that you can get to a point where you have been able to internalize your content. You want to be able to deliver your speech in a style that mimics you having a conversation with a close friend. Your goal is going to be to persuade your audience to see things your way and you’ll only be able to accomplish this after you have already created an emotional rapport with your audience. This means that you need to get them to trust you and what you are saying.
Learn To Be Open
Just turn a TV on today and you’ll be presented with a lot of people who are trying to get you to do what they want you to do. We are all pretty good a spotting the phony ones. It turns out that your audience has this same skill. If your voice, your gestures, and your body language are not lining up with the words that you are saying then very quickly your audience is going to start to distrust what you are telling them.
If while you are delivering a speech you attempt to be something (or someone) that you really are not then what’s going to happen is that you’ll end up not getting the trust of your audience. As a speaker, your #1 skill needs to be persuasively sell both yourself and your idea. If you can do this then, this will help you to achieve your speaking goals. Do a good job of this and you will be believed.
What All Of This Means For You
When we give a speech, we are not doing just to hear ourselves talk. Instead, what we want to do is to use the benefits of public speaking and allow our speech to have an impact on our audience. We want to change the way that they see the world. Although I think that we can all agree that this is a great goal to have, a lot of us are just confused when it comes to trying to figure out how to go about doing this.
The good news is that there are actually a number of different ways to go about making this happen. One such way is to transform the speech that you give. Change it from a bunch of words into a full-blown multisensory experience that allows your audience to use their senses of touch, hearing, sight, and taste to fully understand your message. In order to give a speech that will connect with your audience, you need to make sure that you have the time that you’ll need to practice what you want to say. Make sure that you give yourself enough time to internalize your message so that your audience will believe what you are telling them. If you come across as being phony or not believing what you are telling your audience, then they won’t believe you. Instead, be open with them and sell them on both you and your idea.
Every speech that we give has a purpose. We want to find a way to connect with our audience and change their lives. It turns out that we have a lot of tools that we can use to make this happen. We owe it to our next audience to take the time to learn how to use these tools. Understand your tools and then use them to make your next speech your best speech yet!
Question For You: On average, how many times do you think that you need to practice a speech before you give it?
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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
As a speaker, we have an obligation when we are starting our speech to find a way to use the importance of public speaking to capture our audience’s attention. What we need to do is to convince them that what we are about to tell them is actually important enough for them to spend the time listening to us. We need to realize that we are competing against their mobile phones, random thoughts, and whispering to the person who is sitting next to them. One way to build a connection to your audience as you start a speech is to brag. Oh, but you don’t want to be a jerk about how you go about doing this.