Speechwriters: How to reach today’s cool, hip audiences

Make your speeches unique, informal and conversational.

Make your speeches unique, informal and conversational

What’s out: Staid gray flannel speeches with predictable openings, developments and denouements. And same-old, same-old speakers who fail to project who they genuinely are.

What’s in: Speeches that contain regular “wow” moments—including exciting turns of phrase or use of imagery, challenging questions to the audience, the speaker’s skillful use of props or body language, and—well—the unexpected. Also in: Speakers who come across as genuine and unique.

So said a bevy of observers of the speaking industry in interviews with Ragan.com.

Audiences ask: What am I doing here?

“Today’s audiences are becoming more and more selfish,” says Brian Palmer, president of the National Speakers Bureau, and winner of the National Speakers Association’s Meeting Partner of the Year Award. Audiences today ask themselves, “Why am I sitting here? Why am I listening to this?”

How to keep them engaged? “Every three or four minutes,” Palmer says, “a speaker needs to create some sort of emotive response.”

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