The reason that we give speeches is because we believe in the importance of public speaking and we have something that we want to share with our audience. It is our hope that because of the time, energy, and effort that we’ve put into creating, practicing, and delivering our speech our audience will understand what we are trying to tell them. In fact, we really want them to fall in love with our idea just as much as we love it. Love, however, is a powerful concept. How are we going to make this happen?
You’ve Got To Make Their Jaws Drop
Your goal as a speaker is to find a way to make your audience remember your speech. It’s probably asking to much to try to get them to remember everything that you tell them, so you are going to have to make some decisions. Specifically you are going to have to identify that one key point that you want your audience to remember long after your speech is done. Once you know what this point is, then you are going to have to take action.
What you are going to have to do is build into your presentation one moment where you deliver information that will cause your audience’s jaws to drop. This has to be shocking, surprising, or impressive information that your audience was not expecting. You want to create a moment that has such a lasting impact on your audience that this is the thing that they will be able to remember long after you are done speaking. Your piece of unexpected information will come across as an emotionally charged event and this will boost the probability that your audience will remember what you said.
Every Speech Needs To Have Humor In It
I think that most of us have a love / hate relationship with humor. We do understand that humor has a power in it, if you can get your audience to laugh then they will be on your side. However, humor is a dangerous double edged sword – you can end up cutting yourself badly if you don’t make your audience laugh. We’d all like to use more humor in our speeches, but a lot of us are afraid of the consequences of something going wrong.
What we need to understand is that our audience’s brains love humor. The great thing about humor is that it has a tendency to lower an audience’s defenses and this will make it easier for you to get your message across to them. An added bonus of using more humor in your speech is that by doing so you will make yourself more likable to your audience and they will want to support what you are talking about. Remember, all you need to do is to get your audience to smile and this does not require you to tell jokes!
Don’t Overload Your Audience
One of the challenges that we all face as public speakers is that we are just a bit too good at what we do. We understand that in order to win over our audience we need to do our homework. We need to show up with lists of facts and stats that will prove to our audience that what we are telling them really is the truth. However, it turns out that when we do this, we might be overloading our audience.
People only have a limited ability to absorb new information before they start to shut down. As speakers we need to realize this and tailor our speeches to the unique needs of our audiences. It turns out that roughly 18 minutes is how much time you can get an audience’s attention for. What this means is that no matter how long you have been given to deliver your speech, you need to make sure that you pack your key message into the first 18 minutes before you start to lose your audience.
What All Of This Means For You
In all honesty the reason that we give speeches is because we want to change the world via the benefits of public speaking. No, one speech is not going to do it. However, if we are able to get our audience to fall in love with the ideas that we present to them then we’ll find ourselves in a position where each time we give our speech we’re making the world just a little bit better.
A key way to make our audience fall in love with what we are telling them is to include a jaw dropping moment. This means that we need to include some piece of information that they were not expecting to hear. We also have to make sure that we include more humor in our speech. This will cause defenses to be dropped and will allow us to connect better with our audience. Finally, we need to be careful to not overload our audience. Even if you did a great deal of research in preparing for your speech, you don’t have to share all of it with your audience.
With a little luck every time you give a speech you are talking about something that you really believe in. What you want to happen is by the end of your speech you want your audience to believe in what you have told them just as much as you do. In order to make this happen, you need to make your audience fall in love with your ideas. Take the time to create a speech that will make this happen and you’ll have an audience that just can’t get enough of you.
Question For You: Do you think that it is ever possible to put too much humor into a speech?
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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
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.