In this post, taken from my #1 bestselling book “How to OWN the Room“, you will discover two great public speaking tips for delivering powerful presentations.
However, before you check out the tips, watch the speech below by World Champion of Public Speaking, Jim Key.
#1: Use a We-Focus when Talking about Negative Ideas
Jim uses a we-focus when talking about giving up on dreams:
Back then, we had a wonderful innocence, and could gaze into the future, and imagine all sorts of possibilities. Then we turn our focus to adulthood. Many of us find that by the time we get here, we hit a wall and stop dreaming, because we can’t see past next week. Why? What happened!?
Somewhere along the way we learned a painful truth. We learned that failing to achieve our dream hurts.
Why is a we-focus here better than a you-focus?
A you-focus would sound like the following:
Back then, you had a wonderful innocence, and could gaze into the future, and imagine all sorts of possibilities. Then you turn your focus to adulthood. Many of you find that by the time you get here, you hit a wall and stop dreaming, because you can’t see past next week. Why? What happened!?
Can you see why a you-focus here would create a backlash from your audience?
Telling your audience, “You hit a brick wall and stop dreaming” can cause some of your audience members to think, “No, I haven’t stopped dreaming! Who are you to tell me about me and my life? You don’t even know me!”
When you’re talking about failures and shortcomings, use a we-focus because it lets the audience know that:
(1) You are generalizing when you say “Many of us” and are not specifically attacking the audience. When audience members hear a we-focused statement such as “many of us,” they don’t feel like you’re attacking them personally.
(2) It lets the audience know that you are including yourself in the category of people who have failed/given up on their dreams. Thus, you don’t come off as preachy and the audience is more accepting of what you have to say.
The lesson here is that when you’re talking about negative topics (failures, shortcomings, etc.) use a we-focus to soften the impact of the blow and avoid backlash from your audience.
#2: Avoid Huge Generalizations such as “All” and “No one”
At a Toastmasters meeting that I was attending, one speaker said in his speech, “No one knows how to respect each other anymore…All of us have lost their values and we need to reclaim those values!”
This was a very big generalization.
No one is respectful?
All of us have lost our values?
Such a huge generalization can cause audience members to think, “Hang on a minute! I’m offended…I am respectful and I haven’t lost my values!”
Instead, this speech could have been better if the speaker had said, “Unfortunately, too many people don’t know how to respect each other. Most people have lost their values…” This lesser generalization would avoid offending audience members.
Jim avoids huge generalizations in his speech by saying:
“Many of us find that by the time we get here, we hit a wall and stop dreaming”
Next time you give a speech, avoid using extremes such as “everyone” and “no-one”
Recommended Resource for Great Public Speaking
If you would like more great tools and tips on how to master the speech writing and delivery, then check out my book “How to OWN the Room” – available for immediate download from Amazon for less than the price of a cup of coffee!