Good Speakers Are Made, Not Born
Good speakers become great speakers with the proper training. Investing in professional speaker training can greatly improve your bottom line.
There is no downside to improving your speaking skills.
The key to effective speaking boils down to one thing: The ability to be able to tell a compelling story. I was taught years ago that effective advertising was reduced down to the acronym A-I-D-A, which stands for 1.) Attract their ATTENTION. 2.) Stimulate their INTEREST 3.) Create DESIRE and 4.) Move them to ACTION.
Creating an effective speaking presentation is not much different than those guidelines. When we speak, we are actually selling. We are trying to communicate or get someone to adopt truths, facts, inspire action, etc. How many times has someone in your life said to you, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”? Most of us have heard that. We have all worked with very accomplished, well-educated people who are absolutely brilliant in their field, but when they spoke, they almost put us to sleep. How many of us have listened to an individual who was charismatic, compelling, and attractive and then when it was all done, you ask yourself, “What did they just say?” or you don’t remember a thing they said. It was all show with no substance. To get on the road to more effective speaking, you must master what you say AND how you say it. The best way is in a story-type format. In my sales training over twenty years ago I was taught that “facts tell, stories sell”.
Stories or story-type speaking bring a message to the heart and mind of the audience. One such method is what I call the PSOx3 speaking template. It is a no-brainer method for creating compelling speeches. This stands for presenting a Problem, Solution, and Outcome and doing it three times during the presentation. This humanizes the presentation and it allows the listener to relate to the issue presented. It creates a mental picture which makes the topic more memorable. Here’s an example. Let’s use a motivational topic that goes like this; “John Smith had only twenty dollars in his pocket. He was laid off with no possibility of being rehired. His position was outsourced overseas. He had two kids in private school and a baby at home. His wife worked part-time three days a week.
They could not make it on her income alone. They only had enough financial cushion to pay their bills for about three months. He knew he had to make something happen, and do it quickly. One day after paying his bills he actually had to make a decision whether to fill up his gas tank or buy groceries. This was the turning point in his life. It was either cave in to the desperation and depression or rise to the occasion and go into business for himself. He felt no one was going to hire an over-40 professional like him at the salary he had been accustomed to. One day while reading newspaper, he read a story about how a large percentage of attorneys were not getting the clientele they desired. He spotted a need. Problem leads to profit. He was skilled in writing marketing materials for a large company for the past twenty years. Why couldn’t he do it for another industry?, he asked himself.
This lead him to make his first phone call to a local attorney who confessed that his business was slow and he was at odds in how to get more clientele and increasing his referrals. John made an appointment with that attorney. He became John’s first client. That was 250 clients and three years ago. John’s now has three employees that all work as independent contractors from their homes. He also works out of his home. He and his staff meet in person once a week for brainstorming sessions to give the virtual company a more human feel.”
Now when you read the story of John, in a very short period of time, you are pulled in to his plight, feel his despair, and experience the hope he has with the advent of his new business. When this story is told, as opposed to just telling facts, you feel for John. When it is presented with pauses, increases and decreases in speech volume, and the appropriate body gestures, you are well on your way to creating a memorable speech. As in a good TV screenplay, you can clearly identify the problem, solution, and the outcome. The story of John is one you remember and isn’t that the reason why we do presentations at our work, places of worship, and service organizations?