Here is a brief introduction into how to make your public speaking more persuasive.
Yesterday a new bride gave her husband a burnt offering — the first cake she had ever baked!
Baking a cake is a skill. So is making a speech. Of course the taste of a cake will be determined largely by the materials that are mixed into it. And the effectiveness of a speech will depend greatly upon the materials a speaker puts into it.
All material used in a persuasive speech should stimulate one or more of the following natural elements of persuasion:
At the beginning of a speech, a human interest story, thought-provoking question, startling statement, a bit of humor, suspense, a novel or unusual visual aid is used to get immediate attention.
Of course constant or continued attention is necessary before a state of interest can prevail. And interest is more surely stimulated as soon as an audience realizes the speech they are hearing has special value for them.
Naturally, no sensible audience wants to hear a speech which will be a waste of their time. So, soon after grasping an audience’s attention, a wise speaker frankly tells his listeners how the speech will help them or why they will be interested in it.
One speaker (whose theme was “develop more determination”) did this by beginning with a strong human interest story, then saying, “At some time or another everyone here tonight has said to himself, ‘I wish I’d had the courage to say no to that plan, or had the determination to stand up for what I knew was right.’ So tonight we’ll see how people much like ourselves developed more of this excellent personality trait called determination. Perhaps the principles they used will help us.”
This type of statement is also an interesting way to show the purpose of a talk. Some speakers, however, err by starting their talks with a dull outline of what they intend to accomplish with the speech. Such statements should always be brief and come af¬ter a human interest beginning. A speaker should make the purpose of his address clear, but very little time is required for that. His big job is to go ahead and do what he says he will.
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