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"America's Voice of Motivation"

"Speak Easy" Tips

Last updated 09-05-22


In this segment, I will share with you some of the most effective communication techniques and strategies, I've ever learned in Public Speaking. On my way to becoming a professional speaker, some I've learned through trial and error, but most I have acquired from studying and listening to the works of some of the best communicators in the world; past and present. These tips are for anyone who has a desire to become an outstanding speaker, and perhaps earn a good living doing it. They are also for those who simply wish to become a more confident communicator, and enhance their speaking skills for their company, business, or career. So, whether you're just starting out speaking and giving presentations, or a seasoned veteran, I'm sure "Speak Easy" Tips will be very beneficial. As the old saying goes, "You're never too old to learn and you're never too young to teach."


"8 Great Strategies & Techniques to Connect With & Captivate Any Audience."

Whether you're a seasoned speaker or working on your first icebreaker in Toastmasters, the fundamentals for becoming an excellent communicator remains the same; we have to master the basics, those of which are too often taken for granted.

In a competitive and challenging environment; your ability to communicate well and get your ideas and points across to your audience is crucial to your continued career advancement. As a matter of fact, your success in business depends on it. Most careers and leadership positions, require an adequate ability to give effective presentations and to speak in a coherently persuasive manner. Again, this is a must if one is to compete successfully, in a demanding economically challenged society.

However; all too often some of the most competent individuals, are held back, because of their lack of mastering the basics of great communication. The three basic components of an excellent speech and presentation are the opening, the body, and the closing. For the purpose of this article, I'd like to concentrate on the opening. Your opening has to be the catalyst, that draws your audience in and captivates them. Otherwise, within the first few seconds, you run the risk of losing them for your entire presentation. You have to have what I call the "Jerry Maguire" concept. There was a line that said, "You had me at hello." You have to have your audience at "Hello." In other words, capture their attention immediately.

So, how do you accomplish this? I'd like to suggest eight of the most powerful ways of opening a speech, and connecting with and captivating any audience. These techniques and strategies are used religiously by professional speakers, trainers, and presenters on a daily basis; because they are constantly so effective.

1. Tell A Story - Or better yet...tell your own story if possible. Telling a story can provide a strong opening and captivate your audience's attention immediately, however; make sure that the story transitions smoothly into your theme or the objective of your speech. This prepares your audience to be more receptive to your broader message.

2. Use A Quote - Quoting someone notable and relating to it the objective of your speech is a very effective technique for opening a presentation. I used this approach in opening my Toastmasters championship speech, "Afraid of the Dog." I quoted Mark Twain who said, "Do that which you fear most, and the death of fear is certain."

3. Ask A Rhetorical Question - Asking a question evokes an instant response from your audience. "By a show of hands, how many of you remember exactly where you were on the morning of September 11, 2001?" Immediately, they become engaged, as they attempt to answer in their minds. Of course, you're not looking for a verbal response; hence, the show of hands, but this serves to spark their interest and gets them involved right away. 

4. Make A Starling Statement - Opening with a bold and powerful statement, is a surefire way to capture the attention of your audience. Here's an excellent example, used by one of my mentors. "Of 100 people starting work today, at the end of their working lifetimes: 1 will be rich, 5 will be financially independent, 15 will have some money and 80% will be dead, broke, or depending on relatives. Which group are you going to be in? Let me show you how you can be part of the 5% by the time you finish working."

5. Give An Eye-Opening Statistic - Citing an interesting statistic, that leads back to the core of your message, is another very effective opening technique. I remember reading the opening lines of a politician who said, "If you were born today, you would already owe $186,000 to pay off your share of the national debt." As you can imagine, he had their full and undivided attention.

6. Sing A Portion Of A Song - Singing a verse of a song really mesmerizes your audience and most often catches them off guard; in a pleasant sort of a way...they never expect a song at the beginning of your talk. This also adds great entertainment value to your speech. I often use this strategy to open various presentations.

7. Engage Your Audience In An Activity - Such as a quiz; "Whoever solves the riddle first, will receive this crisp $20 dollar bill."

8. Suspense / Surprise - Start with a suspense-building sentence, that takes them one way; then hit them with surprise. "They finally posted the picture of the estranged mega lottery winner - it was my brother!"

Determine which of these you're most comfortable with, to engage & captivate your audiences, and you'll be well on your way to becoming a great communicator.

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