Thursday, February 14, 2008

Public Speaking : I Get So Emotional -- Part 1 of 2

If you want to get real action out of your audience, then tugging on their heart strings can help make it happen. This is where your storytelling ability can really make you shine. Great storytellers like my friends Maggie Bedrosian and Thelma Wells can take a simple set of facts and paint moving pictures in the minds of their audience members with carefully crafted stories.

You don't have to tell stories though to get emotional response. You can get another two-for-one happy hour special when you ask the right questions. Asking questions not only involves the audience mentally, it can also stimulate many kinds of emotion. "Do you remember when you were a child and you could barely get to sleep Christmas Eve because you just knew Santa was going to bring you that special something?" This question would stimulate fond feelings in most Christian audiences. It would not, however, connect so well with people who do not celebrate Christmas (remember: know your audience). How about this question, "Do you remember doing something really bad as a child? What kind of punishment did your parents give you?" These questions would cause the audience to remember bad feelings. "Did you ever have a pet that died, or did you have a friend who had a pet that died?" This would undoubtedly elicit sad feelings. If you want the audience to smile, ask them this, "Can you remember the most embarrassing moment of your life?" Most people will laugh when thinking back to an embarrassment that they felt was a tragedy at the time because one of the definitions of humor is tragedy separated by space and time.

So, tell stories and ask the right questions to move the emotional state of your audience. (Ref: Wake em Up Business Presentations Pages 128-129)

Part II will show you how to move people to action by choosing the right words.

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