Valentine’s day is quickly approaching, making February the month for lovers in many parts of the world. From seducing and engaging, to connecting and winning peoples’ heart. Emotions, feelings, or love, at first sight, is what Valentine signifies. A speech can be all of that: A true valentine, a sparkle, and a love affair that seduces the audience engages them and wins their hearts.
For William Shakespeare and poet Chris Topher Marlowe’s fans, this famous line in their work may ring a bell “whoever loved that loved not at first sight?”. Indeed, the attraction is spontaneous. we can never change who-and -what- attracts us. It just happens and we don’t control it.
If you are learning the art of speaking, you will often hear that the “opening” can either elevate or diminish from the quality of your speech. Just imagine you are on a date for the first time and feel so enthusiastic to hear about the attractive person across the table from you. Then he/ she opened the conversation with a tedious or a peculiar declaration. How would that make you feel? Would it pick your curiosity to know more? Probably not. The opening of the speech is what I just described: the first impression of your date. Therefore, when we start delivering a presentation, using a powerful emotion right at the beginning is crucial. We call it “grab”. We can open it by simply asking a question, offer a surprising statistic, or make a provocative statement in a way that should be simple, genuine, and clear. After doing that, you can pause. This allows your audience the ability to process the information and be ready for what’s coming next. Pauses draw the audience in, not rationally, but emotionally. They are seductive and effective. Pauses can bring your stress level down, calm your nerves, and provide you with the confidence you need to deliver a powerful presentation.
The attraction is powerful, but it can only get you so far in relationships and speeches. Engagement is key. It keeps you moving forward. Let’s revisit your date. What happens if you talk too much about yourself? You basically have planted the kiss of death and put an end to potentially a passionate love affair. You need to listen to your date too: enough about me; let’s talk about you.
The flow of your speech will be no different than the process on your date. After you’ve delivered a stellar opening, your outline along with your supporting points must show your audience what your speech will do for them. This requires knowing your audience; what do they love and what its “hot buttons” are. Every word should count, and every point should be relevant to the topic. And when interrupted, politely navigate the conversation back to the core topic.
Now that you have your date charmed with your style, interested and engaged. There is one more thing you need to do; show him/her you care. In a healthy relationship, little thing makes a difference, but big things matter too.
Your audience must feel your passion and authenticity in your delivery. They must feel your love for your content. You must deliver content that can make a difference in your audience’s lives or perhaps have an impact on their world. Your content needs to be personal, human, and touching with the least amount of drama. in today’s world, most interactions are superficial. People are eager to connect deeper, provoke richer thoughts, invite curiosity, and generate sincere feelings.
“Love conquers all” it took J.K Rowling seven books and 1084,170 words to convey this meaning. The story in Harry Potter series is probably the greatest love story of our time. Potter is surrounded by love, while his arch-opponent Voldemort has never loved, nor has he ever been loved. In the last book of the series, Harry Potter meets his mentor, Professor Albus Dumbledore, halfway between heaven and earth. Potter mourns the innocent who have died in the quest to defeat evil. Dumbledore says, “Don’t pity the dead, Harry, pity the living and above all, those who live without love.”
So, what is the seductive human notion in your speech? What does it represent? How will you touch your audience’s heart?
A great speech should not only apply the instruments of romance- it should be a love affair where you seduce with a powerful opening, engage with pertinent content, and touch hearts with a passionate story.
A great speech is a Valentine.