One great idea for all speakers is to connect their conclusion back to the opening of their speech. One technique is the use of a callback. In comedy, a callback is used extensively. Every joke in comedy consists of a set-up line followed by the punchline. If it is a strong punchline, that line can be used throughout the comedic routine without using any set-up line. Also if you are known by that callback: then the person who introduces you can also use the callback. Two great example of a callback are Rodney Dangerfield’s line, “I get no respect” and his other great line, “I can’t take it no more.”
See the following YouTube link to watch his callback in action;
If in your opening you have a phrase or a single word that resonates with your audience: then this can be your callback. The key to using a callback is building strong set-up lines. Your set up lines must be concise, compact and have to be memorable. Once these lines are said then your callback can be used throughout your speech. callback act as thread tying your speech together. Your callback can also be placed on any of your marketing material or brochures. The key point to remember when using a callback is not to overuse it. Using your callback too many times diminishes its effectiveness. Also remember that sometimes you may get a callback that comes unexpectedly during your speech. This is a great time to use it. You can also use this new callback later in your speeches. As a speaker you can develop a different callback depending on your speech content and intended audiences.
In our everyday business lives, we are constantly being observed and judged. The truth be really told. Every time we answer the phone, we are judged. Every time we are asked to say a few words at a meeting or are asked to lead a meeting. Every time a meeting speaker is absent and people look around to see who is going to volunteer to walk in front of the room to speak. These are times that a person can either step up be noticed or let someone else gets the chance. In a business environment, we spend our days answering phones and sitting in meetings. You speak because of your business life. You may be speaking with your associates around the coffee machine or may speak one on one with your supervisor in their office. You are still speaking! Strengthening our speaking skills will go a long way to improve others’ view of our professionalism. In reality it is not that difficult. The more opportunities that you have to speak, the easier it becomes. The more evaluations that you receive on your speaking opportunities, the better speaker you become. These evaluations will help minimize your weaknesses and help you concentrate on your strengths. The better speaker you become, the easier it is to be a better speaker. You must commit to spending the time and effort in being a better speaking professional. You must realize that there numerous everyday opportunities to develop your speaking professionalism. Standing in an elevator next to a high ranking company vice-president discussing future business opportunities may plant a seed in this vice-president’s mind. Who knows, maybe you might be considered for a future advancement opportunity. The time to be working on this goal is not when you are asked but months if not years ahead. In a previous blog entry, I gave some examples of organizations that you should inquire about. I also mentioned some classes that might be of benefit to you. If you want to be a better speaking professional, do the work and make the effort.
Height makes a difference!
Firstly, a lectern is not a podium and a podium is not a lectern. Technically, you stand behind a lectern but you stand on a podium. The skills needed to be speaking behind a lectern are different than speaking in front of a lectern.
If you are speaking behind the lectern, there are many questions that have to be asked. What is the height of the lectern in comparison to you the speaker? How large is the lectern? Will there be a microphone or microphones on the lectern? Standing behind the lectern, can you be seen from all sections of the room? Where on stage will the lectern be placed?
I am six foot tall. As a result, if I stand behind a lectern, being seen is not an issue. More importantly, my gestures during my speech can easily be seen from the back of the room. Now, a five foot tall speaker would have more problems being visible. You may only see their head and the top of the shoulders using the same lectern. If you add microphones to the lectern, visibility is even more restricted. So any gestures they will make would have to be made almost over their shoulders and head. This would look very silly. The solution may be as simple as placing a riser for the speaker to stand on. Also where is the lectern going to be placed on the stage? If you are using a Power point presentation, the lectern maybe off to one side. Does the lectern have a light for you to see your notes and an easily accessible electrical outlet for your laptop? This is especially critical if the lectern is placed on stage where it is dark. There are many questions that need to be considered if you are speaking behind a lectern. These questions have to be addressed in advance of your speaking.
Now speaking in front of a lectern is similar to just speaking on a stage. That is another topic for a latter blog.
The ending of a speech can be tricky for some novice speakers and, more importantly, for their audiences. When you are preparing your speech, the close needs to be apparent. When you are giving your speech and coming to your ending, your audience should know that your speech is coming to a conclusion. I have listened to some speakers and one minute they are speaking about their topic and the next minute, they are walking off the stage. This catches every audience by surprise. Your closing to your speech can have a challenge, a question or some sort of call to action but your audience must know that your speech is coming to a close. Every audience wants to think about what you have said to them and during your conclusion it is a perfect time for audience to reflect. Every speech has to have a definite opening, a body and a close. Many speakers are nervous about how they will open a speech. They then worry if they will have enough to speak about during their speech. The closing is many times an afterthought. Don’t let this happen to you or your audience. Think of your speech as a journey on a ship. When you are getting close to your final destination, you want to see it coming. You want to see whether it will be a rough landing or a smooth finish. You want to be able to see clearly the direction that you will take. You audience is no exception. So take the time to put thought and effort into your close. Make it apparent to everyone involved.