Your Next Speech Needs To Have More Poetry In It

by drjim on January 31, 2017

Poetry can make any speech better

Poetry can make any speech better
Image Credit: takomabibelot

In most of the speeches that we listen to today, we tend to hear the same things over and over again. There are the trendy words of the day, the clever business-speak that we all know but it seems like nobody really understands the importance of public speaking in order to create speeches that really work. The problem with these types of speeches is that they simply are not memorable. They go in one ear and out the other. What we need to do is to come up with a way to make our words more memorable. It turns out that there is an easy way to go about doing this: add some poetry to your next speech.

Where To Find The Poetry That You Need

If you are like me, you know what poetry is (words that rhyme, right?), but you may not be exactly sure where you need to go looking if you decide that a shot of poetry is just exactly what the doctor ordered for your next speech. If you are going to start to use some poetry in your next speech, then we’re going to have to start to expose you to more poetry than you’re being exposed to today. The only way that this is going to happen is by having you do more reading.

What you are going to have to start to do is read poetry. Even better than just reading it, what you really should be doing is reading the poetry out loud so that you can understand how it sounds. If I have gotten you to agree with me that this sounds like a good idea, then then the next question is just exactly who should you be reading? The news here is good – there are a lot of really good poets out there. I would suggest that you start with the classics: William Blake, William Wordsworth, Walt Whitman, and Emilie Dickinson.

Poetry is powerful stuff and adding it to your speech can allow your audience to experience the benefits of public speaking. As a public speaker you need to understand why poetry can turbocharge your speech. It turns out that poetry has the ability to really connect with your audience. We’ve always been told to try to paint a picture with the words that we use in our speeches. Poets take this one step further and they use their words to activate all five of our senses. They know that the sense of smell is closely tied to our memory and so they’ll try to get us to smell the scene that they are describing so that we’ll be able to recall it later on. As speakers, by using poetry we hope to be able to accomplish the same things.

How To Include Poetry In Your Next Speech

Unlike a lot of the speeches that we give, poetry has a flow to it. The words all seem to be working with each other and they all seem to be connected in some way. As a public speaker, you need to take the time to come to understand the sound, rhythm, and pace of poetry. You can almost think of good poetry as being a form of music. This means that there is fluidity to the words. You want to be able to detect this and this is one of the reasons why reading poetry out loud to yourself is so very important.

When you are considering using poetry in your speech, this is a good time to go back to those English books and look up what kind of tools you have to work with. Two of the most powerful are the simile and the metaphor. A simile is simply the comparison of two things using “like” or “as”. A metaphor is a comparison that is performed without using “like” or “as”. The power of working comparisons into your speech is that you can now build lasting memories in your audience’s minds that you further cement by using poetry.

There are fancy poems out there. They use big words and combine them in ways that are not often done. This is all very impressive, but it’s probably not well suited for your next speech. Instead, what you are going to want to do is to strive to keep things as simple as possible. When you are adding poetry to a speech, you want to try to use as few words to accomplish this as possible. Keeping it simple for your audience will make it easier for them to understand what you are trying to tell them.

What All Of This Means For You

All too often the speeches that we find ourselves sitting through start to all sound the same. The speaker’s choice of words and how they present their ideas are very familiar to us. What we want to do as speakers is to present our audiences with something that is fresh and new. What we want to do is to work some poetry into our next speech.

The good news about poetry is that it’s all around us. You can get poetry from song lyrics, famous poets, and a lot of other places. Get it and start to read it. Even better, start to read it out loud so that you can become familiar with the way that poetry flows. Poetry is designed to work with all 5 of your audience’s senses. This is going to help them to remember what you said.

When you are putting together your next speech, try something different – include some poetry. No, your audience may not be big poetry buffs, but the human ear appreciates how poetry makes words flow together. It’s easy to remember well-constructed poetic verses. Make your next speech memorable by making it poetic.

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

Question For You: Where in a speech, start, middle, or end do you think would be the best place to insert some poetry?

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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

When we think about creating a speech, I sorta suspect that because of the importance of public speaking we all put on our William Shakespeare hats and picture ourselves cranking out prose that will stand the test of time. The reality of life is that with a little luck we’ll do a good job, create a speech that works for the moment in time in which it is given, and then we’ll all go on with our lives. What this means for you is that you can really do anything that you want with your speech – it’s not going to be around for years and years. Perhaps it would be ok if we added some slang to our next speech?

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