By Larry Schuster
For your business speeches and presentations, do you struggle to connect with your audience? You may be much closer than you think to delivering your stories and messages with a deeper connection with your audiences than you ever thought possible.
In my journey as a national competitive public speaker, I struggled for countless hours over months to memorize words and gestures of my speeches. I even had powerful personal stories and a strong, clear message. With all that, I still had a very weak connection with the audience for my 7-minute speech, which received a polite, but cool applause.
Contrast that with another time, when I spoke to a crowd of 100 people for about 20 minutes. For this longer speech, I just memorized only a few lines. In this second case, though I got a standing ovation.
How could that be? In the second case, I had internalized the stories, the points and messages. I was not spending precious mental energy on the stage recalling words. Instead, I recalled the entire stories and the emotion attached to those stories and the resulting message. And that allowed me to stay present with the audience with my eye contact, facial expressions and pauses, rather than retreat inside my brain in search of the next words.
And how can that work? The brain is better organized to remember images, experiences, and emotions, than words. That’s one of the tips from the book, “Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs.”
Somehow, in that second example, the effect was a more authentic delivery. And with a lot less effort.
In his blog, World Champion Public Speaker Craig Valentine says, “Some speakers simply memorize and recite their words and consider that a success. It’s not. That’s a memorization contest.”
Craig says, “Internalize, don’t memorize.” Those words and his blog on that topic helped to clarify my understanding of how to prepare myself and coach others to deliver speeches that really matter.
Of course, there is a long list of strategies for improving your connection with the audience. But if you follow Craig’s advice, and internalize, rather than memorize, you will be taking an important step to a much more rewarding speaking experience.
For Craig’s blog: