8 Public Speaking Techniques to Wow Your Audience
What is the goal of professional speaking?
The goals of professional speaking are to entertain, inform, inspire, and to get the audience to take action.
The truth is, in order for your presentation or speech to have its greatest effect you need to be able to entertain and wow your audience.
I’m going to give you 8 ways that I use in my speeches to keep my audience on the edge of their seats until the end of my talk.
1) Say Something Right Off The Bat That Connects to The Audience
Let me give you an example of how I open a talk, and you know I’ve given over 5,000 talks and seminars. I almost always open with the same words.
I say, “Congratulations for being here. This means that you are in the top ten percent of adults in our society today.”
I say this in Russia, I say it in China, Finland, Canada, and I say it in Atlanta.
“You are among the top ten percent of adults in our society today.”
“Why is that?”
“It’s because you’re here.”
“You see, only the top ten percent of people in any society ever come to a seminar like this to learn how to be better in some way. The other 90 percent always have a reason for not being here.”
Then I’ll ask, “How many of you know people who could have been here but had an excuse for not coming?”
Everybody in the audience nods and visualizes and thinks of the person who’s not here, who is usually not a very successful person.
Then I tell them that the fact they are here means that they are in the top ten percent.
And by the way, how can you tell who a person really is?
How can you tell what they believe in, what their goals are, and what their hopes, dreams and values are? Can you tell by what they say? Is it what they hope or wish?
It’s only what they do. The fact is that you are here. You’ve taken the actions to be here, and that means you’re in the top ten percent.
Then I’ll say, “Many of you are thinking that if he knew how much money I’m making, he wouldn’t say I was in the top ten percent.”
“Maybe not, but remember that it doesn’t matter where you’re coming from. All that really matters is where you’re going.”
“And where you are going is determined by what you are doing in the moment. And the fact that you are here means that you intend to have a great future. Remember that future intention determines present action.”
That’s how I start off.
I’ll even say that I’m going to share some ideas with them, that are practiced by the top ten percent of people in this field. I’ll tell them that these ideas can help them to move ahead faster than they ever imagined possible. Then I launch into my talk.
Listen to how Steve Jobs connects to his audience almost immediately in his 2005 Stanford Commencement address.
2) Connect with Emotion
Sometimes when I’m talking to my audiences I will say, “Tell me, what percentage of people’s thinking is emotional, and what percentage is rational or logical?”
And people will guess for a while, and then they’ll finally say, “Oh, well it’s ten percent logical and 80 or 90 percent emotional.”
I tell them no.
People’s thinking is 100 percent emotional.
What does this mean?
This means that people think emotionally, and justify logically.
The subconscious mind, and our emotions actually function at several thousand times the speed of logic.
For example, you may meet a person and instantly like them. You may find later that there are a lot of reasons for you to instantly like that person. Your emotions acted like a switchblade, instantaneously, but your logic followed after and you figured out the reasons.
3) Tell The Audience How Good They Are
Throughout the talk I will loop back and say.
“Because you’re in the top ten percent, you know this…”
“People in the top ten percent like yourself do this…”
“People who aspire to be in the top ten percent set goals or manage their time this way.”
So I’m always linking back and telling them that they are in the top ten percent and that’s how good they are. Now that’s one way to make it entertaining and enjoyable, because people will all smile and feel happy.
“Boy, this guy’s really smart. I didn’t even realize I was in the top ten percent until he told me.”
4) Link Back to Your Opening During Your Speech
Starting with a strong opening line or a really good story that you can link and hook your whole talk back into, is very, very powerful.
And I’ve done this year after year.
More on storytelling to come…
5) Relate To The Audience’s Self-Interests
What motivates people to be really interested in your talk, aside from the subject, which many of them may have to be there for?
Many people have told me that they were forced to come to my seminar. They didn’t want to come, because they didn’t think they would learn anything.
So they weren’t there because I was such a wonderful person. They were there because they had to be.
The question you have to ask is, what are the motivations that you need to appeal to so that they will really listen?
Truthfully, I’ve found is that one of the great motivations is self-interest.
That’s why I ask how many people would like to double their income.
They all raise their hands spontaneously.
Then I say, “Well, in the time we spend together I’m going to give you several ways that you can double your income. These are ways that have been tested and proven by people all over the world. They’ve done these things over and over, and I’ve used them myself to go from from rags to non-rags. I’ll give you those same ideas. Would that be a good use of our time together today?”
And they all say yes, yes.
I have their total interest.
If you’re speaking on golf for example, you ask if they would like to reduce their score by five strokes, every single game consistently.
“Well I’m going to show you how to do that using psychological and physical techniques.”
6) Entertain Your Audience With Stories
The key to entertaining an audience is stories. Stories are the most important part of a good presentation.
You can tell very short stories, and they can be your stories or someone else’s stories.
If it’s your personal story, that’s even better.
But if it’s someone else’s story that is just fine.
Start by saying, “I heard a story just the other day.”
And then you tell the story.
Or, “Let me tell you a story,” or “This is something I heard recently that really moved me.”
Whenever you start to tell a story, the whole audience pays 100 percent attention.
When you’re giving facts and figures and details and strategies, methods and techniques, they will pay a certain amount of attention.
But when you tell a story they will listen intently.
And if you can design your talk around three stories, you’ll be amazed at the response.
More on that below…
Below is a video from my good friend Phil Town of Rule #1 Investing. He does a great job of explaining investing, a complicated subject, using simple terms and a great story.
Listen closely to how he tells his “mink coat” story.
Design Your Talk Around 3 Stories
When you think about your talk, remember that “Less is more.”
This should be the basic structure of your talk:
- Your opening.
- Your 3 key points.
- Your close
You have a strong opening, first key point, and then a story.
Transition, second key point, and a story.
Transition, third key point, and a story.
Summarize, and then a close.
The stories link it all together. And you can tell stories that are inspiring, or emotional; that make people feel very strongly. You can tell stories that are motivational; that have to do with greater success and achievement as the result of persisting.
7) Appeal To Patriotism, Loyalty or Personal Gain
You can appeal to certain motivations to gain the attention of your audience.
“Our country is going through great difficulties today and I’m going to give you five things that we have to do to make America once again the land of the free, the home of the brave, and full of opportunity for you, and me, and for our kids.”
So you have to ask yourself what are the motivations of the people in your audience.
8) Tell the Audience EXACTLY What They are Going to Gain
The great motivation is a desire for gain.
If you can convey to them that they’re going to gain things from your talk, like time, money, or greater success or prestige in any area, then they will be listening and they’ll want to know how they can do that.
A wonderful way you can open a talk, by the way, is you can say “There are three things you need to do if you want to double your income in the next 12 months.”
Then you pause.
The Power of the Pause
When you pause, do you know what happens?
Before you keep reading, watch this video on the power of the pause:
People lean forward and say to themselves, “I wonder what it is. They wonder what the three things are.”
Then you say, “The three things are these. You have to be able to do this, and this, and this.”
And then the question they ask in their mind is “I wonder how to do that.”
Now it’s almost like fishing…
You just reel them in.
Using any of these tips can help you entertain an audience throughout your entire presentation, no matter how long it is.
What do you think?
If you haven’t read it already, make sure you take a look at my blog, 13 Tips to Launch Your Public Speaking Career.
You can also find more public speaking tips here!
About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.