In any speech opening, people are going to decide whether to play with their iPhone or listen to you. In the first thirty to sixty seconds of any social interactions, people make judgement decisions. Why should listening or not listening to your speech be any different?
The opening of your speech has to grab the audience. It has to make them want to invest their time in listening to your speech. You do not want to start your speech with a boring beginning. There are many techniques you can use to grab people’s attention.
You can ask a thought-provoking question. You can give a challenging statement or facts. You can hold a prop that will catch people’s attention. You can begin with a powerful personal story. The list is only limited by your imagination.
You need to look at the first sixty seconds of your speech as the hook which you then reel in the audience.
Previously in another nugget, we wrote about doing an audience analysis on a new group of listeners. What about doing this same analysis on your monthly business meeting which you always speak at? Now analyzing your audience is always good. However if you know your audience, or more importantly an audience already knows you, you have different problems.
For example, what are you going to do or say differently to keep your audience excited and interested in hearing what you have to say? Many of us fall into a rut with how we say something. That is alright with brand new audiences but not with a group that hears you every month. We also tend to present the same basic way every time. What new techniques can we learn to have our audience look at our material from a different perspective?
Analyzing your audience whether known or unknown, is always good. It just has to be thought of differently
What if the projector stops working? Then what do I do? Many experienced speakers as they review their talk are constantly asking the “What If…Then” question. What if this happens, then what do I do or say?
To truly look confident in any situation, you must have a certain amount of pre-planning. The pre-planning can simply be asking yourself: what if this happens then what do I do? There are many aspects of a speech’s history that can go wrong. Everything from either your flight arrangements going to the venue or your post-speech events and everything in between.
We all have checklists for equipment supplies but do you have a checklist for the “What If…Then” scenarios? This is the perfect opportunity for you the “Speaker” to think and practice comeback lines to address any problem. You can practice these comebacks with friends to see if they make sense.
It may look very impromptu to your audience but you know the truth.
Last week I was standing in our reception area and I began to briefly speak with my Facility Director. As I finished the 30 second conversation, we were approached by our Regional Security Director. He is a great guy but Alpha male to the extreme. What should have been a 3 minute quick conversation turned into a 30 minute conversation. All because the security director was more interest in telling his needs and recommendations rather than listening to his intended audience, the Facility Director.
You as a speaker must realize that as you are speaking to your audience, your audience is speaking back to you. Hopefully, your audience is not doing that by heckling which is the verbal form of communication. The majority of time your audience will communicated to you non-verbally. You can see in their body movements, lack of interest or constantly looking at their cell phones. If you see that your audience is not interested in what you are saying, you must change your speech. Either leave out parts of the speech or add more passion. Whatever your course of action, you need to change something!
Hello and welcome to another “Speaking Nugget”
NPR broadcasted a piece on first impressions on May 5, 2014.
It highlighted how important the word “hello” is in building relationships. Some Scottish scientists labeled it the Jerry McGuire effect from the movie “Jerry McGuire”. They go into it in the piece.
What is important here is how much attention we pay to our hello; whether it be a packed auditorium, class or conference room setting, not to mention the one with a co-worker, friends and family members.
Have you ever spent the time seeing if your hello resonates with the people you meet? After this you just may want to test your Hello and observe the reaction you get back.
OK, here is the clip from Jerry McGuire
Good bye. We will handle that at another time.