One of the best opportunities for free publicity is speechmaking. Clubs, associations, and organizations host speakers on a regular basis.
As a Toastmaster, I have heard some of the best speakers in the Bay Area. I am convinced that there is one simple method for making any speech more engaging.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ham It Up!
Keeping your audience engaged is essential. Here’s an example.
A fellow Toastmaster asked me to evaluate a speech. She was superb. Great organization, fluid gestures synchronized with her content, and she was relaxed. She related life lessons she had learned by competing in spelling bees.
How to Make it Better: Be the Kindergartener
She opened the speech with a story about participating in a kindergarten spelling bee. I told her to act that out–“BE the kindergartener.” Change to your little- girl voice, spell that word, and jump up and down for a moment. Think the audience will wake up? You bet!!
The audience wants to be entertained. By doing a bit of acting–by speaking and gesturing like a child–she would have had her audience yukking it up, emotionally engaged. And that’s the name of the game. Later in the speech, she portrayed a cocky, then embarrassed third-grader. What an opportunity for more role-playing!
Finally, she described a bell sounding in the middle of spelling a word. She could have brought in a bell to sound. She then could have slouched, sighed or shed a false tear when she lost the match.
So, selectively dramatize your speech. Make yourself laugh and you will certainly entertain others. Go ahead, cut loose! Have fun, your audience will have fun, and you will deliver a great speech!
What are your greatest speechmaking secrets?