Why Break SOME Rules When You Speak

In any field, there are rules that make sense. For example, when you drive a car, it’s good to follow the rules of driving in your lane when you are on a two-lane road. Slipping into the other lane could create problems for everyone involved.

There are also rules when you speak in public. Some make sense. Others need to be discarded if you want to stand out and increase the odds of your message being heard.

Essential Rules to Follow When You Speak

Here are some essential rules you should always follow:

  1. Respect your audiences time. If you violate this, you’ll lose their attention and your credibility.
  2. Dont insult your audience. This one should be obvious.
  3. Do not use the platform simply to sell your product or services. Be a content-rich speaker. Those speakers that spend all of their time sell their product or service anger the audience, never get asked back.

Rules to Break When You Speak

There are some long-held beliefs in the speaking world that can limit your presentations. Keep in mind that these are not ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ ways speak. As Patricia Fripp says, you have theatrical choices that can make your presentations more effective.

Speaking and Storytelling rules to breakFor example, one “rule” that has been passed down for decades is the idea that when you present your speech, you should ‘Tell em what youre going to tell em. Tell em. Then, tell em what you just told em.

On the surface, this sounds like good advice. Done properly, it can be. Unfortunately, most speakers do this improperly and kill curiosity before they get to the heart of their speeches. Their stories become predictable and boring.

A ‘Rule-Breaking’ Example From the Movies

Take the movie Titanic, for example. As you walked into the theater, you knew one thing for sure – that boat was going down! So why did you sit down for 3 hours and 20 minutes and watch? Because director James Cameron kept you curious until the end.

How would you have felt if, in the first 10 minutes, elderly Rose ‘told you what she was gonna tell you (listed the names and fates of all her friends and family who were on the ship)? You may have still watched for the special effects, or because you had time to kill, but there would have been no intrigue or compelling reason to be emotionally involved in the movie.

By introducing each of the key characters, and telling their stories, Cameron built suspense. The tension and curiosity continued to build after Titanic hit the iceberg. The water level continually rose, and each of the characters fates were eventually revealed.

If Cameron had followed the mantra of ‘Tell em what youre going to tell em. Tell em. Then, tell em what you told em, I doubt this movie would have earned a billion dollars.

To respect your audience and keep their interest, there are some hard-and-fast rules you should follow. However, if your message is going to ‘stick’ some rules need to be broken. When you take the risk to be different, you increase your odds of standing out from the crowd.




The book, Lead with a Story, written by Paul Smith. Paul is a former executive at Procter & Gamble. He interviewed 100 worldwide corporate leaders to determine how they use stories to lead their companies. This book is loaded with excellent  examples that you can model, especially for business presentations.

To get your copy, visit: http://amzn.to/1ud9FRk



Break the Rules When You Speak ultima modifica: 2014-12-19T09:41:42-05:00 da Michael Davis