It’s rarely a good idea to read speeches. Reading a speech glues your eyes to your notes, making it difficult to make eye contact and establish a connection and rapport with your audience – or to gauge your listeners’ reactions. Reading keeps you anchored to the lectern, unable to explore the stage or move freely.
Further, when reading from a script, your delivery is almost always affected – not wholly natural, and lacking your usual presence. Since you’re focused on reading the words correctly, there’s a tendency to lose the meaning behind them. Your normal (genuine and convincing) tone, emphasis, rhythm and inflections are lost. You risk sounding monotonous, insincere, even unprepared. Read more
Metaphors are microphones – they amplify your message.
Presenters often employ metaphors, both in their slides and in their speeches. By likening a new thing or concept to something familiar, they facilitate comprehension and heighten impact. This mechanism is especially handy for introducing a theory, a concept, or other intangible. Read more
Remember that stage as you were growing up, when “why?” was what you asked the most? Everything around you was fascinating, from the commonest of objects and people’s behaviors, to the color of the sky and animals’ sounds. But as the years go on, that wondering inquisitiveness fades, for most of us. To reawaken your natural curiosity, we’ve gathered five speeches meant to inspire that lively curiosity and urge to explore.
If there’s one thing Twitter has taught us, it’s how powerful conciseness and clarity can be. A 140-character tweet cuts out the unnecessary, redundant, and flowery words, encouraging tweeters to send straight, strong messages to their networks.
When writing a speech, remember Twitter’s implied advice to all its users: be clear and concise. There’s some truth to the idea that a lengthy speech is an indicator of your expertise and experience. After all, the more proficient you are in your field, the more ideas and stories you have to share with your audience. However, length does not necessarily equate with quality. If you over-write, hoping to impress your audience or to make yourself feel good, you’re going to end up with a lot of extra talk that adds nothing but vagueness. Read more
Though it’s true that a picture can be worth a thousand words, we still rely upon words to carry the complete message and the full story. They capture the narrative, clarify the abstract, conceptualize the unseen. When Chris Burkard gave a TED talk in 2015, he showed the audience jaw-dropping photos and videos of what he does as a surf photographer. But it was only through his words that the audience could fully appreciate his challenging quest for the perfect waves, in the most remote beaches of the world. His visuals impressed; his words inspired. His photos portrayed the outcome; his words described the process.
Because words produce a different kind of impact, effective presenters are careful to invest ample time in brainstorming key messages, finalizing speech outlines and framing relevant stories. Yet on some days, you’re at a loss for words. You can scarcely find any workable words at all, or your word choices just won’t adequately convey your thoughts. Read more
Including well-researched statistics in a presentation adds to its credibility. When you add numbers from a reliable source, your statements or arguments come across as being more valid, objective and reasonable.
While numbers can create a favorable impression, be careful to use them correctly, or they may bore or confuse your audience. The human brain is wired to appreciate relationships and stories better than figures alone. This challenges presenters and public speakers to improve their data presentation skills, so they’re able to present statistics in ways that make a lasting and weighty impact. Read more
Public speaking skills may be difficult to master, but it’s definitely a learnable skill. If you’re a faculty member, you can be part of your students’ learning process by integrating the tips and tricks below with your lesson or teaching style. Read more
Many of you will be celebrating Father’s Day this Sunday. In recognition of some of the most important people on Earth, we’ve gathered six speeches and interviews about what it truly means to be a father. So sit back, relax, and enjoy a mini-binge-watch of this list of videos. Read more
Have you ever found yourself in an “important” meeting thinking, “I could be so much more productive if I wasn’t stuck in this room!”
While most of you don’t spend 300,000 hours a year sitting in meetings (we hope not!), the sentiment above is very common – as you might expect. Too many meetings drag on with no clear flow, people bringing up disrelated topics, important issues and decisions left hanging or unaddressed, and no one exerting any effective control over the proceedings. Of course you could be more productive if you were back at your desk! And so could everyone else present. Read more
People engage in persuasive speaking every day, in many different circumstances. This type of communication can include everything from proposing a new idea to your boss, to convincing your child to eat vegetables. However, when you engage in persuasive speaking you aren’t fully in control of the results of that speech. You can only influence others’ actions, choices and beliefs if they choose to agree with what you’re saying.
Is there a magic formula for convincing someone to agree with you? No – but the principles and techniques below are offered to help you become more persuasive in your conversations with friends, family and colleagues. Read more