Speechwriters, break through the ho-hum barrier

Four tactics to grab your audience’s attention and hold it throughout your presentation.

One of the fastest ways to grow your list of contacts and leads is to give a speech with an audience brimming with 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 among 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,” etc.

Instead, I am going to share with you four uncommon speaking tips that I use to create my speeches. Use these tips, and you will turn your speeches from mediocre into extraordinary, which will attract much more business when you conduct speaking presentations and seminars.

The four steps

Imagine that you are speaking to an audience of 50 and they begin shouting out these four things:

1. Ho-hum!

2. Why bring that up?

3. For instance?

4. So what?

Feeling like a quivering mass of jelly? Well, imagining having these shouted at you will teach you some valuable lessons about giving a successful speech.

1. Ho-hum!

Have you ever attended a speech or seminar at which the presenter started like this? “Today we are going to talk about five strategies to reduce the high school dropout rate”… Ho-hum! How much more interesting it would be to start your speech with, “50 percent of high school students drop out of our largest cities’ high schools each year.”

The most crucial principle of giving an effective speech is that 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 given 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 tepid opening line into a zinger.

2. Why bring that up?

OK, 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, they won’t listen to you. The three most powerful drivers that generate emotional responses have to do with:

  • Money
  • Love
  • Health

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

3. For instance?

Next, the class shouts, “For instance?” They are demanding at least one specific, persuasive example of the point you’re making. 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, your audience screams, “So what? What do you recommend we do about this?” Give them action steps they can take to address the issue and solve the problem. Give them information that is so useful, influential and effective it can resolve even a seemingly enormous problem. Provide light in darkness to show them the best way out.

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.

Bonita Richter, MBA, teaches small business entrepreneurs how to create financially rich and successful bsuinesses. This article originally appeared on the Express Yourself to Success site.

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