If They Don’t FEEL It, Your Speech Message Won’t Stick
As I sat in the back of the darkened room, electricity was in the air. 2,400 audience members were eagerly awaiting the start of the biggest speech contest of the year. 10 contestants from all around the globe competing for the title of 2015 World Champion of Public Speaking.
As a speaking coach, I was eager to see how each presenter would impact the audience. It was also my first opportunity to judge a contest based on a recommendation from my friend and mentor, Darren LaCroix.
In the end, it was the first time in memory that I picked the top three finishers, in correct order. By the way, I’m not bragging. I’ve watched these contests for 19 years. Eventually, I had to get one correct, right??
The truth is, I’m a slow learner. It was Darren’s advice that made the difference. Several months ago, he challenged me to ‘feel’ a speech before I evaluated the technical aspects of it.
His suggestion was invaluable.
In a contest with a wide of variety of subjects – some very difficult to discuss publicly – the three that stood out most focused on common issues (relationship difficulties; how we treat the people closest to us; the power of the words we use).
Each of these three speakers was funny. Each immediately connected with the audience. Each used memorable stories and metaphors. In the end, it came down to a feeling.
Although the second and third place finishers had all of the elements of a memorable talk – terrific writing, excellent delivery and memorable stories – it was the ability of the winner, Mohammed Qahtani of Saudi Arabia, to provide a “punch in the gut moment” near the end of his talk that made the difference.
Mohammed took a subject which many people misuse and shared a brief, yet powerful example of it to punctuate his main message. It was masterfully crafted, dynamically presented, and offered just a bit more of that essential ingredient – FEELING – that made the difference.
In the end, all 3 of the top finishers would be worthy World Champions. They each gave a speech that had all of the essential elements.
As you write and practice your next talk, focus on creating emotion that gives your speech an extra edge, a feeling in your audience that they haven’t just listened to a speech, they’ve had an experience.
To view clips of the top 3 speeches, click the links below:
3rd Place finisher, Manoj Vasudevan, click here.
2nd Place finisher, Aditya Maheswaran, click here.
1st Place finisher, Mohammed Qahtani, click here.
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RECOMMENDED RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
‘THE Book on Storytelling’ by…. me. Learn how the best speakers, storytellers and presenters develop and deliver stories that immediately grab audience attention, keep them on the edge of their seats, and inspire them to act of their message. This step-by-step ‘playbook’ will help you do the same.