The Power of SPEECH

The following is a 6 point checklist provided by Matthew Cossolotto from October 2000 edition of The Toastmaster magazine.

Strong start- Don't open with predictable pleasantries.  Surprise the audience with an interesting quote, a little known fact, or an unusual observation.  Then link the opening to your topic and your close.

Pause for Effect and Drama- Well-timed pauses help to emphasize key points, create drama, and pique the interest of the audience.  Pausing also conveys an impression of self-confidence, command, and poise.

Eye Contact- Establish regular one-on-one eye contact with audience members.  This allows you to "connect" with the audience.  It keeps listeners alert and enables you to "read" audience reaction.

Enthusiasm and Energy- Enthusiasm and high energy are essential.  Banish monotony by stressing key words and using natural hand gestures and facial expressions.  Imagine you're talking with a friend.

Conversational Style- Using a conversational delivery style helps you "talk" to your audience.  Speeches should be written for the ear, not for the eye.   Use everyday language, short sentences, and memorable word pictures.

Humor- Any speech is part entertainment, part information transfer.  Using appropriate humor - not necessarily canned jokes - to reinforce your main points will help you get your message across to increase your like-ability.   An audience that laughs with you also likes you.

Matthew Cossolotto is founder and president of Ovations International, Inc., a full service executive communications company specializing in all aspects of speaker support, and a member of GTE Club 2089-53 in Yorktown Heights, New York.

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