What makes for successful speaking? Here are some of the ingredients that make a presentation successful-
Successful speaking is a shared experience. An able speaker cannot be a miser with ideas and inspiration. Instead of having a selfish, unconcerned attitude he is intensely interested and eager to share his knowledge and experiences — not to glorify
himself, but to bring a mutual glow of understanding and inspiration to his listeners.
A speaker who has little or no desire to share his ideas or experiences soon makes his attitude evident. For instance, a college freshman named Jane spoke in a basic speech course about how thrilled she was when she attended her first formal party.
“I never had such” a beautiful-dress-before,” she said, in limp dishrag tones. Actually some speakers would have spoken more enthusiastically about a dishrag.
“The orchestra was wonderful,” she declared. But who could have believed it from the way she spoke?
Then she told about a terrible automobile accident they had when returning home. But it sounded more like a peaceful ride in a little red wagon.
She was not much interested in her subject and really she had no desire to share what little interest she did have with her classmates. Naturally there was no sharing and the speech flopped miserably.
But another girl named Joyce sparkled as she talked with intense interest about her home state, Kentucky. Blue skies. Blue eyes. Blue grass — she must have been in love with every blade of it. And she eagerly wanted listeners to share that love. And race horses! We could almost hear them romping around the turn. She “sold” that “you-all” state because she was competely and sincerely sold on it herself. Also she had an eager desire to share this state with all the listeners.
When a person speaks from both his mind and the depths of his heart, with all the sincere enthusiasm of his nature, his speaking will get favorable results. Wendell Phillips, a professional speaker, would go any place, any time, and speak free of charge against slavery. Could anyone doubt his effectiveness? Would Horace Greely have had any difficulty speaking on the same subject?
A man who spoke occasionally on safety was only mildly interested in his subject, and he had but a synthetic desire to share this interest. Consequently his speaking had little effect upon audiences. But when his little son was hit and killed by a reckless -driver he had a deep experience with a reality of life. This enabled him to put “heart” in his speaking and he spoke with effectiveness that was not possible before. In fact he dedicated his life to the cause of safety.
It is a useful exercise to compare good speeches with speeches that have ample room for improvement. By doing this it is possible to learn from both examples to improve your own public and persuasive speaking skills.