To make a big impact, we need to be persuasive in public speaking.
But there are so many things we can focus on: storytelling, humour, body language…
What should we focus on first?
1. Take an acting class
I know what you thinking.. ”Seriously?” The good news is, you don’t need to be a Hollywood star. You just need to express emotions effectively.
Taking an acting class makes you comfortable about speaking in public. By improving your body language and voice, you become more persuasive (And yes, you might become a famous actor too).
2. Sound more interesting
As a speaker, sameness is your biggest enemy. To grab and keep people’s attention, make your voice interesting. Use high notes when you’re happy. Use low notes when you’re sad.
Speak fast to show excitement. Speak slowly .. to get attention. Speak LOUDLY to show STRONG emotions. Speak softly to make the audience curious.
3. Speak more, improve more
Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan said if there was no speech on his daily calendar, he would demand an opportunity to speak. Speak as often as you can. Go to rotary clubs and toastmaster. Take consistent action, join conferences and events. Volunteer to be a speaker.
4. Focus on the audience
Are you interested in showing off? Or are you actually interested in helping the audience?
The audience hates speakers showing off. If you brag about your success, people will stop listening. Focus on serving the audience. Interview five of your audience members beforehand. Ask them:
What’s your biggest frustration when it comes to (your speech topic)? What’s the No.1 result you want to get from my talk?
Write down the answers and use their own words in your speech. When you use their language, you connect and build trust.
5. Turn your speech into a story
There are two types of storytelling: you can tell stories or turn your speech into a story. Structure your speech with storytelling elements (3 Cs) , including character, conflict and change. You will connect with people’s emotions and inspire action.
Take reference from the former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s famous speech, The Gettysburg Address:
Character(s): Soldiers in the American Civil War
Conflict: Two parties were fighting. Many people died.
Change: The war could bring more freedom to America.
This short 272-word speech impacted the world forever, sll in the form of a story. Think about the 3 Cs next time you make a speech.
6. Practice out loud
You cannot impact people unless you’ve practiced the speech out loud. Rehearse your speech until you don’t have to read slides or notes. You’ll be present and connect with the audience.
Get feedback from a test audience. It could be your partner, friends or colleagues. Keep what you did well. Work on areas for improvement.
With practice, your speaking muscle gets stronger and it is a given you will impact more people.
Use these 6 speaking tips and you will be more persuasive and impact the world.