Archive for July, 2011

Speak to be Remembered and Repeated

Resonate with the audience. Speak to be remembered and repeated. After all, that is one of the main goals of a speech – to be remembered and repeated by the audience 3 days, 3 weeks and even 3 years later.

Design your message to connect with the audience, not just communicate. Have you ever heard a speaker who appeared to be “winging it” or “mailing it in?” Have you ever given such a speech?

Granted there are master storytellers who can stand up at a moment’s notice and tell a story. There are other individuals who have a charming gift of gab and can speak with seemingly little preparation or forethought about their topic. Unfortunately in some of these cases, the speaker has a tendency to ramble. Rambling keynote speeches can frequently be all over the subject map with very little organization. Certainly, finding the point or a core message can be over the top of the challenging scale.

How do you avoid the appearance of lack of preparation? How do you avoid the “rambling racket,” more noise than cohesive message?

Decide on the core message to be delivered to the audience. At the conclusion of the speech, what do you want the audience to think, feel or do? Once you have determined the core message and core action desired from the audience, you are ready to begin crafting your message.

There are numerous structure styles for your speech. The simplest form for keynote presentations is:
Opening
First point
Second point
Third point
Conclusion

This can become slightly more advanced by adding the element of story to the points. This structure is credited to Patricia Fripp; her credentials and accolades would require an entire page. Two of which are “first female president of National Speakers Association” and “certified professional speaker.”

Attention attracting opening
Make a point – tell a story to emphasize the point
Repeat the process with the second point backed by the second story
Repeat the process with the third point backed by the third story
The conclusion story ties all 3 points together and leaves a strong “walk away” message.

Another advanced structure is credited to Judy Carter, humorist and author of “The Comedy Bible.”

Opening
State the problem to be addressed
State what the audience will learn
Present your credentials
Give 3 – 5 action steps
Summary story

The cohesive thread in all of these formats is that they all have a specific structure. No rambling prescribed. Know the main point you desire to convey to the audience and systematically substantiate your case. When you know in advance the point you desire to make and the resulting action you desire from the audience at the conclusion of the speech, you can organize your thoughts and delivery of the message.

The second common element of all speech structures is that if you desire to include questions and answers, do so after your main point and before the conclusion. Audiences tend to remember the first words and the last words. Every successful speaker prefers to have their core point and “walk away” message be the thought lingering in the audience’s mind after the speech. How many people do you know who want “the last word” in a discussion? This same principle applies to keynote speeches. Having a rouge, off the wall, question or comment be the last words an audience hears can destroy the impact of a perfectly crafted speech. Last words do linger; be certain the words which are remaining in the mind of the audience are the words you choose.

Decide on your main message, structure your speech to logically flow from point to point toward your desired conclusion. Craft an attention getting opening and a comprehensive conclusion to tie all of the points together. Using an organized structure helps assure that the audience walks away with your core message. Always speak to be remembered and repeated in a positive way.

Join me at www.Elaine4Success.com or www.ElaineSpeaks.net. Hire Elaine Love as your coach and as the keynote or workshop leader for your next event. Whether you are seeking to improve your employment situation, gain more expertise as a public speaker or be more effective persuading your kids, hiring a coach will assist you. Speak to be remembered and repeated.

Keynote Speaking

Keynote speaking is an honor. Someone believed in you enough to offer you the privilege of the platform. While your message and knowledge entitled you to step up to the microphone, your first impression is conveyed when you enter the room. Your attire, attitude and personal poise establish the first impression.

Toastmasters, National Speakers Association and every speech coach I have ever encountered emphasize customizing the message to the audience. This theme resounds and repeats throughout every speech training. Learn about your audience, interview potential audience members and event organizers to be certain the message dovetails to the audience interests and high expectations. Changing only the title on a canned speech does not constitute customizing. More on this subject later.

Information about customizing the message to the audience is a familiar theme in training for keynote speaking. The subject of energy, attire, and attitude are infrequently addressed. Your energy, message and attire should be crafted to match the audience. Attitude and attire are obvious before the first words of the message are ever uttered.

Since your attire and personal poise first attract the eye of the audience, those are the first issues to address. If you are speaking to a beach party on a tropical island, high heels and an evening gown would look a bit out of place. As the speaker, you are in a position of prominence; reflect that image. Dress appropriate for the gathering and just a small step more toward the well dressed.

Patricia Fripp, first female president of National Speakers Association, recommends that women not wear white slacks as it draws the eye down and away from the face and the message. Patricia also cautions, “Avoid wearing sleeveless tops on stage;” there are very attractive sheer sleeve tops which are appropriate even for a beach speaking engagement. Another tip of Patricia’s is, “avoid any attire which will be distracting” such as dangly, bangly, dangly earrings. Classic “understated elegance” has always been my preference. Men you might select a nice sports shirt with an open collar instead of a tee shirt. Women, select an attractive pair of sandals with a nice sundress rather than a tank top and shorts. These may appear obvious or exaggerations; however, caution and consideration are preferable to appearing overly casual. The platform is a privilege. Dress to demonstrate respect for the honor of speaking and the occasion. Continue that respect by matching the energy, attitude, of the gathering.

Craig Valentine, the 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking, encourages speakers to match the energy of the audience. When speaking to a more subdued audience do not come out bouncing off the walls with pogo stick enthusiasm, “the audience will feel like jumping out of the window” even from a high floor. Match the energy of the audience and then you can take them with you as you gradually increase the energy in the room. At a recent sales conference, the previous speaker had the audience pumped up and ready to do the Scott Alexander “rhino charge.” In that instance maintaining high energy in the opening would be absolutely appropriate.

If your energy and attire are appropriate for the occasion, the audience will be more receptive to listening to your message. Being cognizant of energy, attire and message will enhance your inclusion into the event and the attention of the audience.

Join me at www.Elaine4Success.com or www.ElaineSpeaks.net. Hire Elaine Love as your coach and as the workshop or keynote speaker for your next event. Whether you are seeking to grow as a speaker to improve your employment situation, gain more expertise as a public speaker or be more effective persuading your kids, hiring a coach will assist you. Take control of your image as a keynote speaker, leader and business professional.

Aspire to Leadership

Our Toastmasters theme today was “aspiration.” To what do you aspire?

Yes, I am aware that it is also a medical term; however, my focus relates to dreams, goals and action. Dreaming is a pleasant diversion but accomplishes very little positive results all by itself. The dream starts the process. The follow through of action, any positive action, begins the actual change.

As a Kansas farm girl in a very poor community, I could have chosen to live in a dream world in my head without moving my physical circumstances. Even though it may not be recommended to take the radical action which I chose, it did prove beneficial. Every individual must search their soul and make the decision they feel is best for them.

Come with me to Linn county Kansas in 1962. With a high school class of 40, only 3 were planning to attend college. Most of my classmates were perfectly content to stay on the farm and in the small, and supposedly safe, community where everything and everyone was familiar. One boy, Larry Morgan, decided to pursue his dreams of college. Larry incidentally had exactly the same birthday as mine. He later graduated and became a college professor.

One other girl decided to attend but she was more interested in the social aspects than the academic. She lasted one year.

Have you ever felt that there must be something better out there for you even though you did not possess any proof yet? Does a dream of a better life lure you to test the possibilities? Somehow that dream nudged the edges of my consciousness and begged to be explored. It felt like Alice in Wonderland testing unknown paths, hiking an unfamiliar trail or driving down an unexplored country road. Even though there is uncertainty, there is also excitement.

Despite the contrary wishes of my parents, my classmates and my neighbors, there was one who encouraged me. Earl McCray, high school music teacher said “Go test your wings, Elaine. You can have a future if you reach for it.” Reach I did. Dr. Earl McCray’s leadership speaking inspired me to dare the unknown. A ride was located to college. No money, no job, no place to live and no guarantee of anything, I left.

Easy, no, but oh so worth it. Long story short, a college professor, Dr. Charles Reilly, gave me a job as his student secretary and convinced the college to allow me to live in old Willard Hall dormitory in exchange for a major portion of my student wages. The remainder of the student wages would go to pay tuition and books. Once again leadership speaking and action paved the path. Yipee! Progress!

Three years later at my graduation as outstanding student of my college class, Dr. Reilly stood there proudly congratulating me. Never underestimate the power of encouragement and determination. The leadership speaking of Dr. Earl McCray and Dr. Charles Reilly were the sparks of encouragement which changed the course of my life forever. I am eternally grateful to both men. Whose life can you change with your own leadership words? Perhaps, even your own life.

You can achieve your dreams. To what do you aspire? What is stopping you from stepping out of your comfort zone and reaching for that elusive dream?

Join me at www.Elaine4Success.com or www.ElaineSpeaks.net. Hire Elaine Love as your coach and as the keynote or workshop speaker for your next event. Whether you are seeking to grow as a speaker to improve your employment situation, gain more expertise as a public speaker or be more effective persuading your kids, hiring a coach will assist you. Take control of your leadership; become a more effective leader for yourself and others.

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”Elaine spoke to our top leaders from 8 states, she gave us new and positive ways to connect with people
which is EXACTLY what we wanted. Thanks Elaine”
-Tom Fajardo, State Farm