Speaking is the original wireless connection: always 4 bars, never at the mercy of cell towers, instant on and realistic sound. Yet people often forget the value of connecting this way even as they upgrade their tablets and smartphones.
1) Attention-getting opening (AGO): put the word YOU, as in the audience, in the first few words you ever say. (Not 'thank you for that kind introduction' which is not about the audience at all). The best AGOs ask the audience to see or feel something personally. "Imagine you are...", "Take a moment to picture...", "How have you felt when...?" What follows these opening fragments should be related to your call-to-action at the end of your speech.
2) Make your story their story: a one-armed man spent 45 minutes telling the audience ( I was there) how he had managed to golf, shoot hoops, tackle, and swim even though everyone told him he couldn't because he only had one arm. While his own story was remarkable, he never once asked the audience what "limb" they were missing and how they overcame it to do something others challenged them to do. Find the human elements of your story and focus on them, not just on yourself, to make your story meaningful to your audience.
3) Call-to-action (CTA): Get your audience thinking about what they will DO next. Not think about, not talk about, not hope for, but DO. Give them time to say it out loud, share their commitment with their neighbor, write it down, take it with them. Leave them with a short, easy to remember phrase that reminds them to take action. My CTA for speeches about speaking and presentations is "Speaking, it's your ultimate wireless connection."
Please notice frequent speech or presentation elements that are NOT on this list of ways to connect with your audience:
formulas such as "tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them"
These elements can be incorporated into speeches and presentations as needed but you must surround them with the three ways to connect.
Invest in your speaking...your ultimate wireless connection.
What clients say:
"Susan has a 'way with words' and can transform virtually any subject matter into interesting, understandable, and actionable material. She can help craft presentations resulting in a story that audiences will remember long after the presentation is over. She is gifted in dealing with her clients and inspires creative approaches with her calm yet passionate desire to see others succeed. I am grateful to have benefited from her knowledge, skill, and ability, and encourage anyone seeking to improve their speaking skills to consider Susan."
K.W. Sr. Manager, Defense contractor