How to Stir the Emotions With Your Speech
When you give a speech, where does your energy originate?
Your head, or your heart?
Think about the greatest speeches you’ve ever heard. Perhaps it was JFK’s inaugural address. Maybe it was Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream.” It may have been a business presenter like Steve Jobs introducing ‘1000 Songs in Your Pocket.’
Speech Lesson From a Rock Star
Each of these speeches have one commonality – they were delivered with passion.
I recently heard a talk on YouTube that helped me better understand this. The source was an unlikely person – James Hetfield, lead singer for the rock band Metallica. Discussing one of his group’s albums, he said…
“Whenever you write songs for a new album, you take your heart and put it into a CD. You can’t go wrong when you write that way. I get a little worried when we think too much: too much here [the head], not enough here [the heart]. We start thinking, ‘We have to write a masterpiece. Why did our songs work in the past? Thinking so much of why things were the way they were.’ We need to forget that and write what feels right today.”
The Rest of Your Speech Means Nothing Without This
Are you writing and speaking about subjects that impact you today? So much of our time is spent worrying about our all other parts of our speech that we overlook this important question.
Gestures, speech structure, and vocal variety mean nothing if you don’t have a deep-seated feeling for your subject. Everything else can be improved with practice; enthusiasm and passion can’t be. If you don’t care, the audience will know. Why take their valuable time if you don’t have a strong feeling for your subject?
The Lesson of Lost Impact
I learned this lesson after competing in a high-level speech competition in 2008. My speech was an update of one I had presented in 2003. Although it was well written, and the delivery was good, the deep emotional impression was missing. The impact of the lesson was five years old. I believe the audience picked up on that missing emotion.
Living in a world with so much change, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a subject that has a strong impact on you. Ensure that each time you stand up to speak, you are invested emotionally in your presentation. More than anything else you do on the platform, the heart of your speech is what your audience will remember.
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