Monday, November 21, 2011

Sharpening Your Points

Are you bludgeoning your audience?

Hitting them over the head with your point again and again, sentence after sentence, as if waiting for some light to go on over the head of the guy in the third row so you can move on?

Why You Do It

1. You aren't comfortable and confident enough with your material enough to let a point stand once you've made it.
2. You aren't sure the audience is getting it, and you assume its your fault.
3. You lose your place and restate the last point in an effort to buy time.
4. You don't edit your writing well enough.
5. You are a naturally verbose individual, and its always worked for you.

Why It's Bad

1. Audiences get bored when they continually hear the same thing over and over. 
2. Assuming the audience didn't get it insults their intelligence.
3. It doesn't allow you to pause after your point to let it sink in.
4. It eats up your time.
5. It lessens the impact of your points.

How to Avoid It

1. Write your speech, and edit for impact.
2. Pause! Use verbal periods. You are more likely to repeat your point if you feel you have to fill the air with your voice.
3. Practice more. If you don't get lost, you won't have to reset yourself as often.
4. Use an outline. Once your point is made, pause, then check your notes in the silence.
5. Improve your speech. Make your stories so powerful, your point can't help but be made, allowing you to be confident you have achieved your task.

When it's Okay

1. As a bookend. You start with your point, tell a story, then repeat the point.
2. As a summary in your close.
3. When you restate your point as a question. When done sparingly, this can add impact.

The better you are as a speaker, the more powerful your points become, and the smarter your audience will be. 

I could say more. But why? Speak and Deliver. 'Nuff Said. 

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