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The 2 Essentials For Effective Speeches

12/21/2015

Recently I shared 6 Techniques to Improve Your Public Speaking. I have personally put these techniques into practice and they have significantly improved how I communicate to others.

Today, I want to continue the discussion on communication in the public arena, but shift from techniques to “essentials.” I believe there are two that must be present in every speech for it to be effective.

These essentials are passion and accuracy.

Passion

John Maxwell says, “Your passion will have more influence than your personality” and “A leader with great passion and few skills always outperforms a leader with great skills and no passion.” I believe those quotes apply to public speaking as well. A passionate speaker who lacks some communication skills will be more effective than a gifted orator with no passion. Passion shows the audience that you personally believe in your message and think it’s important enough to share with them.

One of my mentors had the opportunity to meet a very talented writer. During their discussion, my mentor asked the author a question related to a topic in one of his books. In the most monotone voice imaginable the writer responded, “You have really hit my hot button with that topic.” I still laugh picturing my mentor tell this story and try to imitate the author’s response. In that moment, my mentor didn’t know what to do. Was the author being funny or serious? Apparently, he was being serious. The problem was that my mentor had a hard time really believing that the author’s topic was important to him, because there was no passion in his voice.

A word of caution when it comes to passion. Communicators need to be careful that in an effort to show passion that they don’t go the extreme of trying to manufacture emotion. I have seen many speakers become too dramatic in their talks. It’s like they are forcing emotion instead of letting their content naturally produce it. Your audience will usually see right through forced passion and your speech will lose effectiveness.

Accuracy

A passionate speech without accurate information is hollow. That type of talk gets the audience fired up, but it lacks substance or sustainability. People leave inspired, but the speech produces no change in their lives. The reason is that the methods or “practical” application shared don’t work. They sound good, but aren’t really practical. This is why I think a speaker needs to personally apply the content of their speech before ever sharing it in public. In doing so, you will know the struggles and difficulties of applying that information and also what works and doesn’t work.

Besides methods, your research and stats need to be accurate. Remember, anyone can post anything on the Internet, including misleading data. Make sure your sources are reliable. In today’s culture, someone in the audience will inevitably “Google” your stats and if your information is not accurate, you will lose credibility.

Finally, make sure to cite your sources. Too many people like to take credit for quotes and insightful taglines that aren’t there’s. A friend of mine in his early years of being pastor really struggled with this. I would occasionally podcast his sermons and many of them would be almost exact replicas of sermons from well-known pastors. From talking to a few of members of his congregation, it sounded they were losing respect for him because of this plagiarism. The good news for him is that someone cared enough to talk with him about this and he has grown significantly in this area. And as a result, he has gained more respect and credibility as a pastor and communicator.

Which component do you struggle with more, passion or accuracy? What is one improvement you can make the next time you share in the public arena?

Tweetable Lesson: Your passion will have more influence than your personality

About the Author:

I have a passion to equip or prepare young leaders for maximum impact in their spheres of influence. Former Pine Cove camp director and currently a general manager for Hawaiian Falls. I am originally from South Louisiana but now live in East Texas with my beautiful wife, Robyn.

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