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Speaking Tips – Break Through the Ho-hum Barrier

Bonita L Richter asked:

One of the fastest ways to grow your list of contacts and leads is to give a speech with an audience brimming full of people in your market niche.

How many speeches did you attend in the last year? How many of them do you remember? How many of the presenters’ names do you recall? Hmmm…thought so…not that many. Let’s fix this problem so you will not be amongst the “forgettable”.

I’m sure you are already familiar with some of the more common speaking tips about how to get over your fear of public speaking, how to “tell them what you’re going to tell them,” “tell them,” etc.

In this article, I am going to share with you four uncommon speaking tips that I use to create my speeches, that have garnered comments like, “The instructor rocks!” from attendees, which is more desirable than alternative comments might be!

Use these tips or steps, and you will turn your speeches from mediocre into extraordinary, which will attract much more business to you when you conduct speaking presentations and seminars.

The Four Steps

Imagine you are speaking to an audience of fifty people, and they begin shouting out these four emotional outbursts as you give your talk:

1. “Ho hum!”

2. “Why bring that up!”

3. “For instance?”

4. “So what?”

I’m sure the thought of this has you feeling like a mass of quivering jelly. Nevertheless, thinking about this experience will teach you some valuable lessons about giving a successful speech.

Let’s address each of these four emotional outbursts individually, and I’ll give you some tips about how to avoid these from being shouted at you while doing a presentation; literally or figuratively.

1. “Blast through the “Ho-Hum” Barrier!”

Have you ever attended a speech or seminar where the presenter started like this?

“Today we are going to talk about 5 strategies to reduce the high school dropout rate”…

Ho-Hum!

How much more interesting it would be to start your speech with,

“50% of high school students drop out of our largest cities’ high schools each year.”

The most critical principle of giving an effective speech is your opening must electrify your audience, shake them awake, and crash the ho-hum barrier. Otherwise, you’ve lost their attention before you’ve even gave them one piece of useful information.

Get their attention, make a startling statement, and provide an interesting fact. Next time you are creating an opening line for a speech, put it to the “Ho-Hum” test. If it doesn’t pass, rework your opening line until it’s a zinger!

2. “Why Bring that Up?”

Okay, you’ve crafted your opening line. The next thing to do is imagine your entire audience SHOUTS at you:

“Why bring that up?”

This is your invitation to expand upon your attention-getting opener. Tell them why they need to know the information you’re sharing with them, how it will benefit them in a direct way.

Emotionally connect with them, because if you don’t, again, they won’t listen to you. The three most powerful drivers that generate emotional responses have to do with:

* Money

* Love

* Health

Tie in what you are saying to one of these three topics, and you’ve got them hooked.

3. “Examples, Please.”

Next, the class shouts, “For instance?”

With this statement, they are demanding at least one specific, persuasive example of the point you’re making. A powerful way to communicate this is through telling stories. Use stories and examples to bring your points to life. Flesh them out, let the audience “see” what you are telling them. Facts and figures may be forgotten, but stories are retold. Make yourself memorable; master the art of storytelling

4. “So what?”

Finally, the class screams, “So what?” —what do you recommend we do about this? Give them action steps they can take to solve the problem, and address the issue.

Give them information that is so useful, influential and effective, it can resolve even a seemingly enormous problem, and provide light in darkness to show them the best way out.

Remember, the most traveled road of common speech writing tips is the one that delivers us to the land of mediocrity. Use these four tips to put your speeches to the “mediocrity” test. Doing so will teach you how to develop powerful, influential speeches that people will listen to, and remember.

Copyright 2008, Bonita L. Richter

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