“It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good, impromptu speech.” Mark Twain, American Author and Humorist
I’m going to share with you three very simple tips that will make any speech a good one, regardless of what field of business you are in.
Most people dread having to give speeches. It’s a lot of pressure and can be scary for the inexperienced. But, if you can give a decent speech, you can increase your income significantly in many ways. You’ll gain new clients, promotions and opportunities through public speaking.
I have a friend who is an acupuncturist. Often she has to give talks to doctors about what acupuncture can do for their patients. The doctors can be very skeptical, given that they are often not trained in alternative medicines.
Below are the three tips I gave her. These techniques should alleviate any audience’s skepticism and persuade them to be open minded to new ideas.
1 – USE THE POWER OF THREE
Most people can easily absorb three ideas at a time. So narrow your main points down to three. (Like I did in this post!)
At Toastmasters, a public speaking training course, they have a saying:
“Tell the audience what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them.”
At the start of your speech, after your powerful opening statement, tell your audience what you’re going to tell them (today I’ll give you three examples of how acupuncture can heal your fibromyalgia patients)
Then, give them the three examples in detail.
Before your powerful closing statement, bring the speech to the end by recapping those three examples.
2- HAVE A STRONG OPENING AND CLOSING STATEMENT
The first few seconds you begin and the last few when you close are the most important in the speech.
DO NOT start with “thank you for being here.” It immediately feels weak when you do that. Instead, jump right into your powerful opening statement, which you should have memorized.
OPEN STRONG by beginning with a short, powerful statement. (Example: “Did you know that you can alleviate the pain of 70% of your fibromyalgia patients without the use of drugs?”)
CLOSE STRONG by giving a short, powerful statement: “You’ll be a hero to your patients.”
DO NOT close your speech with a “thank you” either. End with a powerful, thoughtful or passionate statement, then walk off the area. OR, if you’re taking questions, pause for about 5 seconds and then say “I can take your questions now.”
Here’s an article that gives “10 Ways to Close your Speech Strong“.
SOOTH THE SKEPTICS – After your opening, if you have a skeptic crowd, soothe them in the beginning, right after your powerful opening statement.
You could say something like “At the end of this session you will have a tool that you can use to help your patients.” A good statement will have them perk up, wanting to know more, rather than looking for ways to discredit your ideas.
You can also applaud them for having an open mind to new ideas. “I applaud you for being open to these ideas. It will greatly benefit your patients.”
3 – TELL A STORY
Telling a real story is the absolute best way to keep an audience’s attention.
A story helps you to illustrate a point, even if you are speaking on a dry topic such as the importance of metal in commerce, tell a short story involving people and a problem and a triumph.
In the case of my acupuncturist friend, she should tell a story about how acupuncture helped one of her patients.
Everyone loves a good story, and they will be more likely to connect with your speech if you tell a true story involving real characters. You’ll also become more relaxed during your speech, because you’ll know your story and won’t need your notes while telling it.
Most people will forget facts and figures, but they always remember stories.
I hope this is helpful to you. I used these techniques when giving my smARTist Summit talk this week, and it worked. The feedback I got back was incredible.
If you want to really get good at public speaking, I strongly recommend joining a local Toastmasters Group. I did for over ten years and it helped me with my fear of speaking in public. You can find a local chapter at Toastmasters.org.