Is Your Speech an I-Sore™?
What is the most important word in a speech?
Listen to most speeches, and the words ‘I,’ ‘me,’ or a derivation of those two is the most frequent word you’ll hear. Most speakers have learned the bad habit of talking all about themselves. When this happens, they are inadvertently dis-connecting from their audience. Their presentation is an I-Sore™.
What is an I-Sore™?
The following speech opening should give you a clue…
“I’m about to take you on an amazing journey. During the next 45 minutes, I’ll show you one of the greatest man-made creations in the world – Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota; I’ll show you the power of Mother Nature. I’ll show you the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park. I’ll show you fabulous images so you can experience the grandeur of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
Now, look at a different approach with the same basic information…
“You’re about to go on the most amazing vacation of your life. During the next 45 minutes, you will gaze upon one of the greatest man-made creations in the world – Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota; you will feel the power of Mother Nature as you stand near the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park, and you will experience the grandeur of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.”
Can you see the difference?
Can you feel the difference?
What’s the Difference?
Each opening essentially conveyed the same idea, but they had a very different emotional impact, didn’t they?
In the second example, the word ‘you’ or a version of it was used six times. The same information, but with one simple change from the words ‘I’ or ‘me’ to the word ‘you.’ The speech has a different impact on the audience.
This concept is referred to as the I/You ratio by speaker Patricia Fripp. Is there a hard-and-fast rule for this ratio. Ideally, you’ll use a form of ‘you’ at least four times for every one ‘I’ or ‘me.’
Avoid making your speech an I-Sore™. Review your presentations and determine how you can replace ‘I’ or ‘me’ with ‘you’ or ‘your’. By doing so, your audience will be more likely to enter your world and you will have created an experience that will leave them talking about you and your message long after you speak. (It’s always good to practice what you preach!)
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