Tag Archives: Storytelling

Public Speaking

Public Speaking

In general, a successful public speaking is more of a science than an art. This science can be learned using various ways. One of the simpler ways to learn is to dissect the process into multiple categories and concentrate on each category. I would like to recommend minimum four categories you will have to get yourself comfortable with. These four categories are openings, story-telling techniques, closings, and practice.

Openings

Openings are the one of the most important parts of the speech because if you get audience engaged with a great start, half battle is won. Openings could include two aspects of the speech. “Laws of the speech” and “Wake’em up”.

As a part of the Laws you can point of few rules which you want to stick to e.g. No questions during presentations, break after 30 min, etc.  As a part of the opening, you should also cover the agenda so that people know what to expect.

As a part of Wake’em up, you might want to get audiences’ attention by doing something drastic e.g. surprise them with story, ask question so that they start to think etc.

By following these simple things of stating the rules, agenda and strong opening sequence, you will have everybody’s attention in the room.

Story-telling techniques

Story-telling is the most effective way to engage audience because it keeps audience interested and engaged. It is a great skill but can be acquired by practice. There are many techniques but I find two techniques are top of my list. First one is to make story real life and something audience can relate to and second one is to split the story throughout the presentation if possible.

Firstly, audience needs to be able to relate to the story then only you have their attention. Use real-life locations, characters to make story concrete. E.g. provide location as New York 56th street instead of standing in big city street. Use the references which audiences are aware of e.g. use sports figure reference from the sport popular in the audience. E.g. avoid American Football references in Europe.

Secondly, split the story. Start the story at the beginning, but don’t finish it. Cut-off the story and cover few points in the presentation and then come back to story. Try to finish the story near the end of the presentation. Everybody likes to hear the story and want to know what happened in the end. By splitting the story, you would be able to hold audience from start to end.

With these two story telling techniques, you can almost guarantee that your speech will be well received.

Closings

Closings are important because they leave the impression about your whole speech. In general you should have your audience react e.g. laugh, introspect, clap, etc. The idea is to have your audience feel great and not awkward. If you end speech with joke, there will be laughter while you get back to your seat. Depending on subject you want to end speech with quotation or small story which will get audience thinking. If you have too much humor interspersed along the presentation you could end the speech on serious note. This will provide the impression that you are fun-loving person but serious about the end-result.

In general, there are few ways to close the presentation and you could choose as appropriate for topic/audience. But main thing to remember is have audience react in the end.

Practice

Practice is the most important part of the speech because without that you cannot deliver effective presentation. More you practice better your speech is going to be. For long speeches you could break the speech into a bit. A bit is a section in your presentation. If you don’t have time, you could keep practicing bits. Also have words/stories associated with bits in order to remember long presentations.

Most successful people also practice in front of the mirror to improve the delivery of the content. They also practice jokes. Perfect punch-line comes after lot of practice. Say a story aloud many times so that you not only memorize important part of the story, but delivery of the story, your body language, voice modulation will be better.

To deliver a great speech, you need to practice multiple time, practice your jokes, stories and delivery of the content.

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