Monday, September 11, 2017

Adding color to your speeches

Lance Miller, the 2005 World Champion of Public Speaking, often sends great information in his email newsletters. I encourage you to subscribe to them. Here is his latest, with a powerful technique that can help you be a more effective speaker.

A common mistake many people make in speaking is never introducing the audience to the characters or players in their story:
Example:  "I met my best friend after work and told him the news! He was so excited for me!"
Then the speaker goes on using the pronoun
and the noun "friend" but never giving us a real name or description of this person for a proper introduction to the audience.
This gives the audience a black & white silhouette description of this person.

Add some color"I met my best friend, John
after work and told him the news!"
Add some more color"I met my best friend, John, who I had known since high school, after work and told him the news!"
Now we have some dimension and color on who this friend is.
Example: "I came home and saw my daughter sitting at the kitchen table..."
We don't know if the daughter is 4 years old or 34 years old!
Add some color"I came home and saw my 15-year-old daughter, Emily, sitting at the kitchen table..."
Add some more color"I came home and saw my 15-year-old daughter, Emily, sitting at the kitchen table with her red hair and freckles doing her homework..."
It is a simple point of making these characters real to the audience. This is more important for major characters in stories. It is certainly fine to use descriptions like waiter, postman or receptionist if they don't play a major role in the speech or story.
But if they do, introduce them to the audience with a name and few short descriptive phases. Let the audience know this person. Let them see the character in living color instead of a black & what silhouette!