To be a great speaker in any field you have to be able to grab your audience emotionally. There are many emotions we all feel and a look at a list on the internet will produce thousands of results: acceptance, admiration, adoration, affection, afraid, agitation, agreeable, aggressive, aggravation, agony, alarm, alienation, amazement, amusement, anger, angry, and that’s just the start of the A’s. Emotions are powerful and if you cannot grab the audience emotionally you will not make a good speaker.
The most common way to encourage some sort of emotional response from the audience is to tell them stories. Good stories are unique to you, original and true. They must also have a good reason to be told.
The easiest emotion to generate with a story is humour. I don’t tell jokes but I try to be as appropriately funny as I can because if they laugh they will have a good time and remember the key issues that the story supports.
A speaker recently told me that we have the best job in the world. We get paid a huge fee for standing up and telling stories. I like that.
Stories can elicit emotions but questions can work just as well.
“Do you remember that special Christmas as a child? You tried to stay up all night to see Santa Clause but fell asleep with your parents in the lounge.”
Or perhaps negative emotions:
“Do you remember how you felt when that special pet you loved for years sadly died?”
Negative emotions are just as powerful as positive ones. They may not be enjoyable but they are memorable. If you move your audience they will want to return.
Emotions encourage actions
I would like you to consider the following two statements. They both have the same message but the second is highly emotional and much more likely to generate the appropriate response.
“We should work together to reduce crime.”
“There comes a time in every man’s life when he has to stand up and be counted and for us that time has come. No longer can we stand by while our houses are robed, while our family is mugged and our children are being raped on the streets. Enough is enough. We have to stand together and fight if we are going to create a world worth living in. Who amongst you will stand up and be counted? Join me in the fight for our humanity. Together we have a chance. Together we will win. We will not be beaten….. We will not be beaten………. WE WILL NOT BE BEATEN.”