When Speaking About Controversial Topics, Opinions Count

by drjim on April 29, 2014

When speaking, you have to respect everyone's opinions

When speaking, you have to respect everyone’s opinions
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Hey, are you looking for a fight? If so, then why not stand up and deliver a speech on a controversial topic? The importance of public speaking means that we have the tool with which to tackle this tricky subject. You’re sure to tick off 50% of your audience by the time that you sit down. However, you’d think that there has got to be a better way to go about talking about a topic that not everyone sees eye-to-eye on. The good news is that you’d be correct. It turns out that there are a number of things that you need to do when you pick a controversial topic to talk about…

Clarity And Focus

As you can well imagine, any time that you’re going to be talking about a controversial topic, your audience is going to start to react to what you are saying right off the bat. What this means for you is that you’ve got to keep your focus. Undoubtedly you’ll become flustered or agitated while you are giving your speech, if you’ve been able to keep your focus on what you wanted to say then you’ll be able to keep things under control.

In order to be able to keep your focus, you’re going to have to decide what type of speech you want to give. Not every controversial speech is the same. You’ll need to pick between deciding if the purpose of your speech is to inform, to persuade, or to inspire.

You’ll also have to decide on just exactly what you want to accomplish. What is the goal of this speech? Once you know this, you’ll have a much better chance of staying in control throughout your speech.

You May Not Be Right

One of the reasons that delivering a controversial speech is such a tough thing to do is that your view of the topic may be different from the way that your audience sees it. In fact, there is a chance that you are the only person who sees things the way that you do. How do you like those odds?

In order for your speech to be a success, you need to take the time to realize that there is always a possibility that you are wrong. Your view of the world is just one view and there is a possibility that for some reason you just got it wrong.

By doing this, you’ll find that you are able to stay open to those members of your audience who may have a completely different view of this topic than you do. No, this doesn’t mean that they are going to agree with you any more readily than they would otherwise, but it does mean that you should be able to shape your words in a way that will have a better way of connecting with them.

What All Of This Means For You

Talk about getting yourself into hot water! When you find yourself in a situation where you’re going to be giving a talk on a controversial topic, you need to be very careful. There’s a good chance that a large portion of your audience will not agree with what you have to say.

What this means is that you’re going to have to carefully plan your speech. This means that you need to be very clear about what you’re talking about – there’s no need for your audience to become angry about the wrong things. You need to keep the focus on your topic and don’t forget that there is always a possibility that you are wrong.

Controversial topics are important and the ability to talk about them is one of the benefits of public speaking. Clearly the reason that they are controversial is because there are strong feelings about them. It is appropriate to give speeches dealing with these topics; however, we need to be very careful when we do. Take the time to plan out your speech so that you’ll be able to reach the maximum number of people in your audience.

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

Question For You: Do you think that you need to have a backup plan just in case things start to get out of hand during your 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

As public speakers, we understand the importance of public speaking and so we take the time to prepare our speeches. We clearly identify who we’ll be talking to, pick a topic, build a speech, practice it, and then deliver it. That’s all there is to this public speaking stuff, right? Well, not exactly. There’s the little thing called the “Q&A” portion of the speech where your audience can ask you questions about what you just said (or anything else that they want to). Got a plan for handling this?

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