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Some Advanced Speech Tips

August 12, 2018

If you’ve ever given a speech (and I’m including junior high English class here) you already know the standard advice. What you’re going to read in the following pages are tips and tricks that you probably didn’t know.

 

Wouldn’t it be nice if people in the audience didn’t yawn, roll their eyes, or check for messages on their PDAs while you’re speaking?  Wouldn’t it be nice if nearly everyone was hanging on your every word and you actually saw dozens of people jotting down notes? Wouldn’t it be nice if you were giving a speech to hundreds of adoring fans?

 

It happens all the time. But it happens to the same speakers all the time, while others get the PDA checkers…all the time. The difference between success and failure really boils down to a few simple tips and tricks.

 

Although I’m not going to get into the intricacies of formatting a speech here, I do have lots of advice from years of coaching speakers - I’m going to start by telling you five ways to entice your audience.

 

 

Five Meta Messages Your Audience Wants to Hear

 

Based on field testing and the advice of Ed Wohlmuth, author of The Overnight Guide to Public Speaking – an excellent book that is no longer in print - here are five messages you need to convey to audience members to get them interested in your speech.  

 

 

1.  I Will Not Waste Your Time

Within the first few seconds of the speech, you need to let audience members know about how long you will be speaking and what’s so interesting about the topic. Don’t make any promises you can’t keep. Here’s an example:

 

Wow – I have so much to tell you and so little time.  In the next 20 minutes, you’re going to learn everything you need to know about hiring Generation Y employees – from what kinds of benefits and recognition they expect to how many times you can expect their parents to call.

 

I would add, don’t open with a quote. It sends an immediate signal that you don’t have anything original to say.

 

 

2.  I Know what you Know and I Know More than that.

Let them know that you know how much expertise they have on the topic and you plan to provide more. This is one place where industry jargon is not only acceptable – it’s preferable because it lets audience members know that you’re at least on their level.  Here’s an example:

 

If your company  is like most, HR is working overtime to keep new Gen Y hires knee deep in incentives – and by  “incentives”  I mean not just electronics and iPods, but the soft rewards they really want like days off and tickets to ball games. How do I know this?  My consulting firm has been doing nothing but coaching companies like yours on Gen Y hires for the past four years. In fact, we were interviewed last month by 60 Minutes for a segment on that topic.

 

 

3.  This is My Main Point

You really want the audience to pay attention while you drive home your most important point.  So it’s a good idea to give some indication as to what it is ahead of time.  As you begin your speech, say something like this:

 

Hiring and retaining Gen Y employees is easy if you remember that they need to feel special.

 

Then, later on in your speech – everyone will really listen when you say:

 

As I mentioned earlier, the bottom line is this: Gen Y employees need to feel special and here’s how to do it.

 

 

4. This will be Easy to Follow

Offering some kind of mental outline to audience members at the outset keeps them on their toes. Think of adding phrases such as these:

  • There are six things you must promise to Gen Y employees before they will even consider working for you.

  • You’re juggling three generations of employees – Boomers, Gen Xers and Gen Ys – I’m going to tell you a little about each of the first two in terms of motivation and then really dive into Gen Ys.

  • There are four things you thought you knew about Gen Y employees that are just plain wrong.

 

5.  Listen Up - I’m Just About Finished

Research shows that people really listen when they think the speech is just about over.  So it pays to let the audience know when you’re close to the end and then wrap it up in five minutes or less. The worst thing to do is indicate that you’re almost finished and then rattle on for another 20 minutes. Say something like this:

 

Thank you so much for coming - you’ve been a great audience.  Now that you know how to hire and retain new Gen Y employees, I’m going to give you one last bit of advice.

 

 

Putting it all Together

 

Sample opening

Wow – I have so much to tell you and so little time.  In the next 20 minutes, you’re going to learn everything you need to know about hiring Generation Y employees – from what kinds of benefits and recognition they expect to how many times you can expect their parents to call.

 

If your company is like most, HR is working overtime to keep new Gen Y hires knee deep in incentives – and by  “incentives”  I mean not just electronics and iPods, but the soft rewards they really want like days off and tickets to ball games. How do I know this?  My consulting firm has been doing nothing but coaching companies, like yours, on Gen Y hires for the past four years.  In fact, we were interviewed last month by 60 Minutes for a segment on that topic.

 

Hiring and retaining Gen Y employees is easy if you remember that they need to feel special. I’ll get into that in a couple minutes but first, I’m going to tell you  four things you thought you knew about Gen Y employees that are just plain wrong….

 

Somewhere in the middle

As I mentioned earlier, the bottom line is this: Gen Y employees need to feel special and here’s how to do it….

 

Toward the end

Thank you so much for coming - you’ve been a great audience.  Now that you know how to hire and retain new Gen Y employees, I’m going to give you one last bit of advice….

 

It’s all pretty simple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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