What’s your main task when delivering a speech? Make it notable.
Here’s how to leave a lasting mark:
Reveal fascinating facts. Share tidbits of knowledge that others will find shocking, surprising or hard to forget. Examples can include an animal’s unusual mating ritual or the number of transistors in a typical house. Your goal: for listeners to think, “Wow, that’s interesting. I had no idea!”
Display genuine emotion. Some speakers mistakenly bottle up their feelings in an attempt to come across as strong or stoic. Weave in personal stories that allow your emotions to flow forth. If you recall a painful experience when you cried, give yourself permission to tear up.
Stay silent for longer. Speech coaches often tell clients, “Pause every so often.” But here’s what they don’t say: Pause for eight or even 10 seconds.
After pausing for one to two seconds, you lead the audience to think you’ve lost your place. But if you remain silent for five seconds and maintain your composure, people think, “Oh, this is intentional.” Pausing for eight or more seconds almost guarantees that every listener will pay rabid attention.
Pose questions, not answers. You’ll make yourself memorable by asking a compelling question that you know listeners cannot answer. Then add, “I don’t know the answer either” and explain why. This enhances your credibility and convinces the audience to treat what you do know more seriously.
— Adapted from “5 Ways to Become a Better Speaker Overnight,” Jeff Haden, www.linkedin.com.