Here is a quick post on using poems in public speaking and why use facts, and a problem with them when you are trying to persuade your audience.
A poem is another type of quotation which may be helpful when used rarely and in small doses by a speaker. Only down-to-earth poetry should be used. Listeners simply haven’t the time or patience to interpret a poetic puzzle.
Using four to eight lines of poetry at one time is sufficient. Longer poems may be accepted near the end of a speech. But even there brevity is appreciated. Over-using poetry in a speech becomes a flowery, tiresome practice. Once or twice within any speech is usually enough.
No speech should be made top-heavy with either prose or poetic quotations. The choice and arrangement of speech material should reflect a speaker’s originality. The speech is his. And using too many quotations may cause an audience to wonder, “Who is making this speech anyway?” Furthermore, what people say is usually not as interesting or convincing as what they do.
Let the core and much of the. web in your speech be illustrations. Highly effective speakers have been great story tellers. Jesus, for example, told stories to illustrate his points. He pictured poverty by telling of a boy who ate with pigs, forgiveness by showing a father with open arms, and a merry banquet with servings of •choice beef. His talks were full of stories, parables, human interest pictures of life.
Lincoln was famous as a story teller. And there are at least twenty illustrations in Russel H. Conwell’s speech, Acres of Diamonds, for which people paid about seven million dollars to hear over a period of years. Numerous speakers who have been unusually successful have filled their speeches with interesting stories.
Also a persuasive speech, especially at the conviction step, should be studded with facts.
Facts add “weight” to a talk. Listeners can deny illustrations, argue with opinions, but facts speak an exact language that defies contradiction. “Just give us the facts!” Detectives, lawyers, judges cry for them. Facts convince.
The difficulty is, facts may be dull. An average mind cannot receive many of them in raw form without screaming for rest. But usually, when facts are dull, they do not touch listeners’ feelings or create vivid mental pictures. “Cold” is a term used to describe uninteresting facts, or those verbal ghosts which are so hard to see and understand For instance can you picture mentally $798,436,975,459? Or a million times that many insects?
In my next post I’ll talk about how to make fact more interesting and engaging in public speaking. Being confident and more effective in public speaking is something we all can aspire to. If you are looking for more help, check out our free 7 day e-course on public speaking by typing your email address and name in the box to the right.