A Big Leaguer In Public Speaking

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Here is an example of using an interesting story about Harry Houdini for effective public speaking.

An illustration which specifically interests a speaker can be an effective one for him to use in a speech. Following, is a story about Harry Houdini which a speaker listened to and enjoyed: The great magician, Harry Houdini, pressed his nose against a window on a passenger coach, and looked anxiously for the truck that would bring his luggage from a local theater to the railway station. The conductor had shouted, “All aboard!” And it was time for the train to start out chugging away. “Please hold the train a few moments for my baggage,” said Houdini. “Nothing doing,” replied the conductor. “This train leaves on time.” “But you can’t start without my luggage!” cried the magician. . Oh, no?,The conductor thought in another way. He declared he couldn’t hold the train for anyone. “You can not leave without my luggage,” declared Houdini, a lot more determined than ever. He then rushed to the entrance and departed the coach! Passengers wondered what he would do – appeal to the station agent? Shortly word came back that a man had run down in front of the engine, flung his entire body all over the tracks, and grasped a rail so tightly nobody could pry him loose. They continued to wait for Houdini’s baggage! The speaker employed this story to illustrate how determined a person may be. An effective speaker chooses his material with consideration, just as a big league baseball player thoroughly selects a bat. Babe Ruth would certainly never have become the home run king if he had batted with a broom handle. In the same way, a speaker will never become a “big leaguer” on the platform if he uses weak, unexciting material. Being truly interesting calls for more time and effort than being unexciting. But definitely the results warrant the effort and time. An able speaker is consistently watchful for unusually interesting material and that he doesn’t wait to use it freely. Instead of using poor stories which incite just a sleepy “so what?” from listeners, he chooses material that induces an involuntary “WHAT! SO?” and expresses it in a way which causes listeners to say, “More – please reveal more!”

Hope you enjoyed my series on using stories in public speaking. If you want to learn more please sign up for my newsletter to learn more tips and techniques for effective public speaking.

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