Women in Sales Summit London 2019 – “Own Your Space” – Engage with Presence

Elon Musk authentic presenting

What We Can Learn About Public Speaking From Watching an Elon Musk Presentation

There’s a lot to be learned from studying the presentations and public speaking techniques of some of the world’s great leaders. Here we take a look at an Elon Musk presentation, and ask: Despite a number of obvious flaws in his technique, what makes his presentations so popular?

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Elon Musk Presentation

So, a few things about Elon Musk straight off the bat.

Musk is rich, he’s passionate about his projects and he’s most probably a genius!

And yet when he gets in front of an audience he can turn into a public speaking car crash.

He gave a presentation earlier this year outlining his very ambitious plans for rocket company SpaceX.

SpaceX plans to land an unmanned spaceship on Mars in 2022. (It will then start preparing for human visitors to arrive two years later!)

That presentation garnered him a lot of social media attention, but for the wrong reasons: there was his stammering, and his style of delivery, which was clunky and awkward.

And yet that long speech was watched over 400,000 times online less than 24 hours after it was posted.

So the question is.

Why are we still interested in watching an Elon Musk presentation when so much of his delivery is soooooo bad?

Well, here are a few insights that might make sense of this bizarre dichotomy of brilliance and bumbling.

1. He Gives You The Why Before the What

Elon Musk does big plans big style – humans on Mars in just a few years!

He tells you WHY his projects are important right off the bat.

When he outlined the SpaceX plan to go to Mars, he tells you ‘why’ it’s important before he tells you the ‘what’.

In this case, that SpaceX will ensure the survival of humans as a species and to inspire the belief that the future will be better than the past.  He always gives his audience a reason to listen and engage with him.

TAKEAWAY: Next time you are preparing for a presentation, think about this. Do not tell your audience WHAT you did, until you have told them WHY.  It’s a classic mistake we’ve seen time and time again here at ConfidentSpeak in working with business leaders to improve their communication, speaking and presentation skills.

2. Master the Art of Imperfection to Master the Art of Authentic Presenting

Musk is very good at making his audience feel like he’s just like them, that we’re all in it together, so his stammering and stumbling actually doesn’t bother us so much.

Many great speakers, like Steve Jobs for instance, talk as if they’re on a higher plane and that they’ve got everything perfectly down pat and present you with a finished product.  That’s great and we buy into it.

But Musk does the opposite. He tells you that he and his employees have been figuring things out. He shares with you how a product crashed and burned and landed in the ocean. Musk lets us know that he has failed more than he’s succeeded.

That shows us Elon Musk’s humanity, and we love people who are human.  Perfection is overrated, this is authentic presenting.

Musk and other imperfect speakers may not have the best delivery on the planet but they can make up for it with vulnerability,honesty, and passion for their subject.  You can teach techniques for great delivery, but it’s mighty hard to manufacture real, honest feeling.

TAKEAWAY: Next time you present, be sincere and your audience will follow you anywhere, regardless of how much you stumble or stammer.

3. Elon Musk is the Definition of an Authentic Presenter: What You See is What You Get

Many people describe Musk as ‘authentic’.

The word ‘authenticity’ has been bandied about a lot in corporate circles of late so let’s just remind ourselves what it actually means.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines authenticity as:

True to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.  Not false or imitation.

Musk gets down to brass tacks, lets the audience know that he’s down-to-earth and vulnerable, and lets his feelings show about what inspires him.  

The idea of living out amongst the stars excites him and he tells the audience exactly that. He is telling us his dream—and audiences love people who follow their dreams.

Especially when it led them to become billionaire entrepreneurs.

There’s a lot to be said for credibility when presenting. Sometimes we gain credibility because of our position or from the amount of money we have or how many accolades we’ve collected.  All these factors do carry a certain weight and give the speaker gravitas, ensuring they have a better chance to get the audience on-side before they’ve even stepped on stage.

Yet when it comes down to it, two things will always sway an audience.

Great delivery, and humanity.

TAKEAWAY: Next time you get up in front of an audience, give them a clear, confident, credible delivery and you’re on your way to a winner. Give them humanity, vulnerability, and passion in addition to that and you’re on your way to home-run World Series victory.

Here’s the full Elon Musk presentation from SpaceX. Watch for yourself

 

Read More

If you enjoyed this read – you’ll like these reads also

Brene Brown on Becoming an Authentic and Confident Presenter

Be a Master Communicator Like Conor McGregor, in Six Easy Steps

(Main picture credit: Steve Jurvetson / Flickr Creative Commons)

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Vocal delivery techniques from Oprah

Five Vocal Delivery Techniques You Can Learn from Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes Speech

Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globes was powerful and inspiring. But let’s take a look at the vocal delivery techniques she used to ensure her message was received loud and clear.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Naturally much will be discussed over the coming weeks about Oprah Winfrey’s speech at this year’s Golden Globes.

Her message to her audience was powerful, emotive, thought-provoking and inspiring.

But as a voice, communications and executive presence coach, I feel compelled to examine the importance of “how” she delivered her empowering message as much as the content of that message.

I’ve written before about Oprah’s exceptional speaking skills, in my blog “The Oprah Communications Manual in 8 Easy Steps“.

But specifically on her phenomenal Golden Globes performance, allow me to break down and analyse the vocal delivery techniques Oprah used to ensure her message was loud and clear.

These are delivery techniques that you too can take into your speeches and presentations.

1. Showing up Authentically is a Key Vocal Delivery Technique

There is no question with this speech, Oprah delivered her message with authenticity and honesty.

The reality is that any audience will connect and engage with people who are truly themselves. Yes, the content is emotive, but you really get a sense that she truly believes her message.

Once there is authenticity in your message, then strong vocal techniques will be easier to access.

When you deliver a business presentation, how authentic are you with your audience? Or do you drop into presenter mode? Because, so many do.

Your Task

Ahead of your next presentation, consider these two questions carefully:

  • What do you feel about your message to the audience?
  • What do you want your audience to feel about your message?

“Feel?” I hear you ask!

Yes, FEEL!

Not what you want them to know and understand, but what you want them to FEEL.

Do you want them to feel excited, curious, frustrated, sad? Whatever that feeling is, you need to think carefully about it, as it needs to be conveyed in your vocal delivery.

2. Great use of timing. She combines pause and pace brilliantly.

The space between your thoughts can be as powerful as the thoughts themselves. She makes great use of pause throughout her speech.

With such strong words she understands her audience needs this time to process her message. Pause is used to strong dramatic effect also.

We can implement pauses to gain different effects.

When we pause before a word or phrase, it creates the classic tension/release.

If we pause after, it allows the audience a moment for the information to sink in.

As opposed to highlighting specific examples in this speech I would simply urge you to listen to the full ten minutes for her use of pause.

It requires bravery for any presenter to accept that silence. If we trust the pause we will hold a listener’s attention.

There is no question about this. It’s so compelling.

When we use pauses, we can also vary the pace of our delivery and the two go hand in hand.

Varying our pace and using the power of pause keeps the rhythm of our vocal delivery varied and keeps the ear from falling asleep.

You can hear throughout this speech she varies pace – for important statements, you’ll hear she slows right down to emphasise the importance of her words.  You’ll hear increases the pace to create energy.

Your Task

For your next presentation, accept the silence.

Try this useful Tempo Technique to engage your audience

  1.  Speed up the tempo before you make that important point
  2.  Pause
  3.  Then slow down to deliver it

It carries your listeners forward and then make them wait.  It’s a classic tension/release at work.  It takes practice, but it’s a very clever device, and it’s powerful.

(Example: Listen to 5.00-5.16 minutes in Oprah’s speech)

3. The Power of Your Consonants in Vocal Delivery

This is where the voice geek in me comes out!

They don’t get much airtime, but consonants can really work for us when we speak and they are used well in Oprah’s speech.

They can grab our listeners’ attention and hold onto it. I believe they give speech emphasis and intent. People often think that they need to speak louder to make their messages stand out, but this is not the case.

I think by Oprah focusing on her consonants she really drives home her message throughout. Any time you want to drive home a point, implant a thought, do it by giving more thought to the consonants in your words. They will make what you say more effective and dynamic.

Your Task

Try this useful Consonant Technique to drive your message home.

Lengthen the consonants in the word or syllable you want to emphasise.

This creates the illusion of being louder by bringing everything to a halt while we wait for that word.

4. The Importance of Power words: What They Are, and How to Make Them Powerful

All words are not created equally.

When we speak we do not pronounce each and every word and syllable with the same importance.

It is so evident in Oprah’s speech.

If you want your audience to listen and engage then you need to understand

  1. What are power words, and
  2. How to give these power words the power!

Power words are the 1-3 words in each phase or sentence that absolutely reduce it down to its basic meaning.

They communicate the essence of what we are saying.

These words require more time more emphasis, more vocal importance, if they are to resonate with the audience.

But how does Oprah do this? And how do we do it?

First things first: like Oprah does, you need to be authentically communicating your message. To be really connected to and truly believe your message.

  • Change of volume: Listen how Oprah either increases or decreases volume on specific power words
  • Pitch variation: She changes the pitch on certain power words to highlight and bring importance to them—she makes them stand out
  • Articulation: She will overly articulate certain consonants in the power words to bring the word out further—lest the audience forget!
  • Change of pace: She tends to speed up and then slows down on her power words/phrases.
  • Pause: She will pause before or after key power words

Your Task

Try combinations of any of the above.

They are vital to a strong vocal delivery – that will be listened to and understood by your audience.

You can hear examples of Oprah using power words effectively throughout her speech, but skip to 8.00 mins and onwards for a series of great examples, such as:

  • “ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning
  • “even during our darkest nights
  • “when that new day finally dawns”
  • “the time when nobody has to say me too again”

5. Mastering the Skill of the “Clap Trap” is One of the Best Vocal Delivery Techniques

She doesn’t wait for the applause and she doesn’t wait for clapping to stop before she continues.  Pausing and waiting for the audience to clap is a faux pas, it removes the sense of spontaneity.  Carrying on with her message and refusing the applause implies that she is not expecting a clap, she is more focused on her message than herself.   A speaker always needs to be more committed to the message than to accepting praise. This she does very well throughout her speech

Skip to minutes 2:22, 3:22 and 7:02 to see Oprah do this.

Conclusion

Be under no illusions, Oprah would most certainly have practiced and rehearsed this speech many times to refine her vocal delivery techniques.

It would have been a shame to have a great message delivered poorly.  My message to you is that it’s not enough to have a strong message—your vocal delivery needs to support that importance of your message.

So, finally, record yourself when you’re preparing and practicing your words.

It is the only way you can hear exactly what you sound like and then you can make changes accordingly.

  • Are your showing up authentically in your speech?
  • Are you using pause and pace combined to engage your audience?
  • How are you making your power words standout and be POWERFUL?
  • Are you giving Consonants the importance they deserve?
  • Finally, don’t fall into claptrap mistakes!

Here’s Oprah’s Full Speech

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Like this? Here’s More from the ConfidentSpeak Blog

If you liked this blog and learnt from it these will also interest you.

 

Richard Branson on Public Speaking

Richard Branson on Public Speaking: The Billionaire Businessman’s Top Tips On Handling Speaking Nerves

You might not think one of the world’s most successful businessmen (not to mention best-known billionaires) might suffer from nerves when speaking in front of an audience. But you’d be wrong. Here are three tips from Richard Branson on public speaking.

By Maria Tecce, ConfidentSpeak

Richard Branson on Public Speaking

Nerves and anxiety affect pretty much everyone at some point, whether you’re speaking to an audience of thousands or one-to-one in the board room.

Much of the time it is not a case of eradicating those feeling but managing them and mastering them.

Great presenters and speakers are not born, they are made, with hard work and preparation.

In a recent article, featured on Fortune.com, Richard Branson mentions Winston Churchill, author Gavin Maxwell, and Mark Twain as his own touchstones for successful public speaking.

Richard Branson on Public Speaking: Lesson from Gavin Maxwell

When you need to speak in front of a crowd, close your mind to the fact that you’re on a stage with hundreds of people watching you and instead imagine yourself in a situation where you’d be comfortable speaking to a group. For example, imagine that you’re in your dining room at home, telling a story to friends over dinner. I know it sounds a little corny, but try it. This trick has certainly removed some of the anxiety for me.

Richard Branson on Public Speaking: Lesson from Winston Churchill

Churchill … once said: “A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt: long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.” Take this advice to heart. Even highly gifted speakers like Churchill would never ask an audience to listen for more than 25 minutes or so. Extending a presentation beyond half an hour will stretch any group’s attention span.

Richard Branson on Public Speaking: Lesson from Mark Twain

Twain was aware of the common misperception that in order to be a great speechmaker, one must be good at speaking off the cuff. Twain addressed this in 1899 when, speaking at a dinner given in his honor at London’s Whitefriars Club, he said: “Impromptu speaking — that is a difficult thing . I used to begin about a week ahead, and write out my impromptu speech and get it by heart.”

Throughout the piece Branson talks about a couple of his best loved tricks to beat the jitters and where his inspiration comes from in handling those nerves.

The full article can be read on Fortune.com over here.

And finally, remember the wise words of Soren Kierkegaard:

Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Main image via David Shankbone / Wikimedia Commons

Speaking Lessons

Four Great Speaking Lessons From Five Great Actors

Speaking Lessons

Sir Anthony Hopkins. A great actor with great speaking lessons to impart

Everyone needs a good role model, right? Watching the best in their field, and learning from them, is a proven route to success. And the same is true when it comes to speaking lessons and becoming great public speakers. Here we take a quick look at five of the best from the world of acting: Anthony Hopkins, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, John Hurt & Benedict Cumberbatch.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

So, what do they all have in common?

Of course, there are several things.

Yes, they are all British.

Yes, all male.

Yes, all accomplished actors.

Yes, all did their time on stage before making it on screen.

Knighthoods? Well, several of them do have one under their belt.

But here’s what I think is one of the most important things to focus on with this quintet: they are all phenomenally good public speakers!

Now you might think that this is a given; they are trained actors after all.

Sadly, though, that is not so. There is many an actor who can deliver a fine performance on screen or even on stage but when they have to stand up in front of an audience they don’t do so well.

So what are the public speaking strengths that Hopkins, Stewart, McKellen, Hurt and Cumberbatch (henceforth known—to me at any rate!—as The Fab Five) all demonstrate when they get on stage?

Great Actors Speaking Lessons, 1: They Possess Great Commitment and Clarity

I can almost guarantee,  that you could hand any of these guys a restaurant menu to read, and they would render you spellbound in seconds! How?  Well, it is all down to commitment to the line or message that they are delivering combined with clear and articulate delivery of it. Throughout they remain connected and committed to every word they speak, giving each word appropriate time and appropriate weight. As an audience you cannot help but listen and stay connected.

Great Actors Speaking Lessons, 2: They Have a Natural Flow

With each, you get the sense that they are exactly the same person on stage and off. There is an honest, natural flow to their delivery.

Great Actors Speaking Lessons, 3: They Use Pace to Great Effect

They all have great use of pace. They know when to keep it slow and measured, bringing life and vibrancy through great use of pitch. There is no rushing, no great urgency.

Great Actors Speaking Lessons, 4: They Let You Know They Are Ultra-Present

Did you ever listen to someone giving an interview or doing a speech and you sense that they are not really there, but that they are thinking ahead about what they are going to do or say next. The Fab Five are always present,  always in the moment, whether they are on stage, on camera or standing at a podium

These guys make it seem so easy that you could be forgiven for thinking that it is all down to natural ability. The truth is that most of it is down to hard graft – many hours spent preparing, planning & rehearsing. A comforting thought as it means that there is hope for us all!

Another Actor With a Masterful Voice

To finish, a little fun! 🙂

Check out this clip from The Lego Movie. Morgan Freeman, perhaps the American equivalent of our five British friends, jokes that he could read the phone book and make it sound interesting. It is true! So too with The Fab Five…

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

great presenter

What We Can Learn From The Steve Jobs Presentation Style

I recently read an article from the eloquent Nancy Duarte of Duarte Design which discusses the “Jobs” movie, starring Ashton Kucher in the lead role. During this article Ms Duarte observes that despite the movie’s mixed reviews, the one thing that it reminds us off is what a great presenter Steve was. So what was it that made us hang on every word of every Steve Jobs presentation?

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Steve Jobs presentation style

Here is a list of few of Steve Jobs’s key presentation skills which we should all keep in mind.

1. Every Steve Jobs Presentation Had A Very Clear Message

Steve Jobs left his audience knowing exactly why a product was built, the problem it solved and how.

His prime focus throughout his talks was in getting his message across in a clear and easily digested way.

2. He Uses Careful Timing

The average attention span of an audience is about 10 minute and Jobs generally split up his presentation in to ten minutes segments to make each section more palatable to his listeners

3. He Adheres To The Rule of Three

The “rule of three” writing principle suggests that things that are presented in three are more satisfying & more effective than those presented in numbers of more or less.

Every Steve Jobs presentation always had several lists of three message points.

Why?

Because he knew that a list of three things is far easier to remember than five or ten, and infinitely more intriguing than in two or one.

It’s an oratory technique that might just be as old as oratory itself.

(Former British Prime Minister David Cameron was also a great believer in the rule of three. Read more on David Cameron in our public speaking techniques blog.)

4. Jobs Clearly Prepared and Rehearsed His Material

Jobs prepared for every presentation meticulously. Like all great presenters, he understood that presentations must be rehearsed over and over again to be truly great.

5. He Harnessed The Power Of Silence

Some times overlooked and often under used, careful use of both pause & silence through out a presentation can have a powerful impact on your listeners.

Steve became a master of this. At every launch he reeled in his audience with suspense whilst at the same time making them feel like they were witnessing not just the launch of a consumer product but an historical moment.

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Steve Jobs Presentation At Its Best

I”m sure we all have our favourite Steve Jobs presentation but I think the  March 2011 launch of the iPad 2 Keynote sees him at his best…

great speech

The Speeches of JFK: How One Man Forever Changed the Way the Irish Were Perceived

To mark the 50th anniversary of JFK’s visit to Ireland, we decided to take a look at the speeches of JFK, and how we could captivate a crowd. (Note: This blog first appeared in 2013.)

By Ariadne Laurenns, ConfidentSpeak

The Speeches of JFK and How One Man Changed the Way the Irish Were Perceived ForeverJFK 50 took place over the weekend.

New Ross was the place to be as celebrations spanned the weekend in honour of the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s visit to Ireland in 1963 and indeed in honour of his visit to his home town.

Kennedy represented the ultimate success story of the Irish emigrant.

In three generations his families fortunes changing from famine emigrants to producing the most powerful man in the world.

Listening to the confidently delivered speeches made by his daughter Caroline and Grandson Jack, it was clear that ‘the apples haven’t fallen very far from the tree’!

The Speeches of JFK: My Favourite

Anyway the whole thing got me thinking about the speeches of JFK, and how the great man himself used his ability to captivate a crowd and inspire a nation with his oratorial style.

We all have our favourite speeches but mine has to be his Moon Speech, delivered at Rice University in September 1962, a year before he came to Ireland. During this speech he challenges America to put a man on the moon.

Despite the fact that this speech is almost 18 minutes in duration, this great orator holds his audiences rapt right to the end.

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Oprah Communications Guide

The Oprah Communications Manual in 8 Easy Steps

When we set out to become the best speaker or communicator we can possibly be, it can really pay to select some role models and learn from the best. Here, we take a look at Oprah Winfrey’s techniques and break down a series of tips and tactics straight out of the Oprah communications manual.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Oprah Communications Guide

It’s hardly revolutionary to say it, but Oprah is one clever lady!

The American TV host—and, who knows, possible future United States President!—is one of the most influential communicators in the world, and her communication style has earned her the love of millions worldwide.

Oprah routinely shares great advice on becoming a great executive communicator.

So let’s see what she can teach us about effective communication.

The Oprah Communications Guide, Part 1: It’s a conversation

Lectures are boring whereas conversations are interesting.

So Oprah doesn’t lecture. Instead, she converses with her audience. If you listen to Oprah’s show, you feel as though you are talking to her one-on-one.

When presenting, this is the feeling you want to give your audience—make each audience member feel as though you are talking to him or her individually.

When creating your speeches and presentations, forget the big fancy words and the complicated terminology. Read over the script and make sure it sounds conversational.

Ask yourself simply:

Is this how I would talk to a friend?

After all, a speech/presentation is a simply a conversation you are having with many people.

The Oprah Communications Guide, Part 2: Open with a big promise

Oprah always opens her show with a Big Promise. She provides her audience members with a roadmap (an outline) of all the exciting things that will happen during the show.

To pick out just one example:

Today on Oprah, Dr. Phil will show you five easy steps to reigniting the romance in your relationships. After that, Suze Orman will show you how to eliminate all your credit card debt…

If applicable, then provide your audience with a quick outline of value that they are going to get out of your speech.

The Oprah Communications Guide, Part 3: Share personal stories

Oprah shares plenty of personal stories about her successes and struggles.

These personal stories create rapport with the audience.

Personal stories are interesting to listen to, and they’re also memorable.

When creating your speeches and presentation, see which personal stories you can use to back up your core message.

They add credibility to your message and make your speech interesting.

The Oprah Communications Guide, Part 4: Show your audience you’re just like them

By sharing her personal stories, Oprah managed to show her viewers that she was just like them.

For example, even though Oprah is a billionaire, her personal stories about her struggle with weight-loss made her seem like “one of us” and thus gave her the ability to connect with her viewers.

If you want to inspire people with your message, if you want your audience to connect with you, you need to make them feel that you’re just like them.

Share your successes, by all means, but make sure you don’t forget to also share your struggles…

The Oprah Communications Guide, Part 5: Show them you care about them

Once you’ve established that you are just like your audience, the next step is to prove to them you really care about them and their problems, struggles and challenges.

Oprah made her viewers feel that she cared about them.

She did this by empathizing with their struggles and letting them know that she was facing those very same struggles.

When giving your speech, let your audience know that you care about them and then tell them why.

For example, you may have faced a similar situation in the past.

The Oprah Communications Guide, Part 6: Stand for something bigger than yourself

Your speech can’t be all about you. It has to stand for something bigger than yourself.

Oprah’s show stood for: “Live Your Best Life”.

What do you stand for?

And what value will your speech provide your audience?

It really pays to think about these questions before any speech, talk or presentation—and that applies equally to personal and business communications.

The Oprah Communications Guide, Part 7: Make it emotional

Oprah’s stories of struggles and successes were full of emotion.

Why is it important to invest your communications with emotion?

Because the truth is that emotion is the fuel that drives action.

If you want your audience to take action, then you need to use emotional stories that will touch them and inspire them.

The Oprah Communications Guide, Part 8: End with enthusiasm

End on a high note.

Make sure that when your audience leaves the room, they leave feeling excited and hopeful.

Craft the ending of your speech/presentation so that your audience leaves feeling hopeful about the future.

Conclusion

A quick recap of the guide to communications according to Oprah, one of the best in the business:

  • It’s a conversation
  • Open with a big promise
  • Share personal stories
  • Let your audience know you’re just like them
  • Show them you care about them
  • Stand for something bigger than yourself
  • Bring the emotion
  • End with enthusiasm

There you have it. The Oprah Communications Manual in a nutshell.

What elements of this do you think can you bring into your next talk, speech or presentation?

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives.

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Read more

If you would like to get started on getting advice On Becoming a Great Communicator – you might also like these blogs:

public speaking techniques - david cameron

Political Public Speaking Techniques – Secrets To David Cameron’s Speech Uncovered

There’s a lot to be learned from studying political public speaking techniques. Here we take a closer look at a speech by then British Conservative Party leader David Cameron at the Conservative Party Conference in October 2009.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

political public speaking techniquesDavid Cameron’s pitch at the Conservative Party Conference of 2009 was “high on rhetoric, scarce on policy”, or so the critics said.

But I’m not so interested in the policy of the politics. I study politicians for their communications techniques.

And I believe that as a piece of communication, Cameron’s 2009 speech, or several elements of it at least, certainly worked for me.

When it comes to political public speaking, here’s the thing.

There is a formula that Cameron and many other politicians use.

Therefore I thought it would be useful to share ten public speaking techniques Cameron used in this 2009 speech to enhance the success of imparting his message to his audience.

 

1. The Three-Point List

By structuring his messages into three-point lists he strengthens and amplifies his message.

A three-point list gives the audience time to recognise and react appropriately.

An audience can easily remember lists of three hence there are many three-point statements throughout the speech. Listen, for example, to his use of “family, community, country”.

(Barack Obama was another famous exponent of the three-point list technique.)

2. His Use of Contrast

By using contrast in public speaking, it provides a puzzle and it arouses curiosity. As such it opens the way for a punch line.

For example:

We all know how bad things are, massive debt, social breakdown, political disenchantment. But what I want to talk about today is how good things could be.

Of course, Cameron was leader of the Opposition at this point, so talking in this manner was easier in Opposition than it would be in Government.

3. Similarity & Repetition

He uses similarity and repetition in the language he uses, in the length of his sentences and even in his grammar. This helps an audience remember and adds weight and emphasis to his message.

For example:

None of this will be easy. We will be tested. I will be tested. I’m ready for that – and so I believe, are the British people. So yes, there is a steep climb ahead. But I tell you this. The view from the summit will be worth it.

4. Use of Metaphor/Analogy

He  uses metophor and analogy throughout his speech.  This is done to evoke people’s imagination.

The “steep climb ahead / view from the summit example” above also fits the bill here.

5. Rhetorical questions

He uses rhetorical questions to stimulates thinking, it evokes curiosity.  It also qualifies the point he wishes to make.

For example:

Yes, we need to change the way we live. But is that such a bad thing? The insatiable consumption and materialism of the past decade, has it made us happier or more fulfilled?

6. Personal Language

He uses a conversational style, and people automatically connect with that.

They will feel they are being talked to as opposed to talked at.

He also uses  “I”, “we” and  “our” throughout this speech.

Involving the audience as if they were with him on the journey will engage listeners.

For example:

The problems we face are big and urgent. Rebuilding our broken economy … because unless we do, our children will be saddled with debt for decades to come.

Mending our broken society … because unless we do, we will never solve those stubborn social problems that cause the size of government to rise.

Fixing our broken politics … because unless we do, we will never reform public services, never see the strong, powerful citizens who will build the responsible society that we all want to see.

7. He Uses Story to Great Effect

By embedding honest and personal stories into the speech brings a human touch which again connects with people immediately.

For example:

I know how lucky I’ve been to have the chances I had.

And I know there are children growing up in Britain today who will never know the love of a father. Who are born in homes that hold them back. Who go to schools that keep them back.

Children who will never start a business, never raise a family, never see the world. Children who will live the life they’re given, not the life they want. That is what I want to change. I want every child to have the chances I had. That is why I’m standing here.

8. Commitment to every word

I felt he was connected and committed to his message.

He gives each word appropriate time and appropriate weight. It feels like he has thought about every word he spoke. There is no rushing, no great urgency and this draws the audience in.

9. He Has a Strong Vocal Delivery

Pretty good use of pace and timing, and both emphasis and energy are well used at the appropriate times.

10. His Overall Presence

Standing there, composed and grounded with no movement adds weight to his presence. It gives the audience confidence in the speaker.

Some Areas Where Improvement is Required!

Timing

Research has uncovered that the average duration of an enthusiastic applause is 7-8 seconds.

However, instead of moving forward with a well-timed restart, Cameron waits for the audience to finish clapping and hence he loses the momentum of the message, and with it too an element of charisma.

Never Wait for the Applause!

Pausing and waiting for the audience to clap is a faux pas which he did a number of times.

This removes the sense of spontaneity. A great public speaker needs to be even more committed to his message than to accepting praise.

Here are some links to the speech in full.

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com