As mentioned, emotions are the most important thing to evoke when public speaking, especially when you’re not just talking to a networking group for social reasons but actually presenting something in hopes to persuade and cause the listeners to take some form of action.
Personal stories are the most formulaic technique to methodically invoke emotions in an audience, they are best utilised at the beginning of a speech and about yourself.
The reason for the above is that whether we admit it or not, our emotions dictate our decisions. We may think we’re logical, but the so-called logic we love to boast about is simply the rationalisation of what our emotions made us do. Several studies support this including one conducted at Harvard which states our emotions control our decisions in all areas of our lives.
When beginning with a personal story that emotionally affects the audience, you literally create a beneficial filter in the minds of those people that will dictate the thoughts they think about your presentation in the following moments. The reason why the story is personal is that ideally, especially if it is persuasion, you want them to have somewhat of a bond with you, and personal stories that are well-told are perhaps the most effective way to induce this.
Use Your Body
You probably guessed this one would be on the list, but if you ever forget it then it will no doubt make your public speaking stink. Several articles and studies such as this one show that 55% of communication is body language. You would have to be crazy to believe you could be a great public speaker whilst also being a dead fish, even if you had the best voice out there, it would just look weird and incongruent.
There are many individual gestures and movements that are popularised to convey certain messages, but to remember them all would make you go crazy and fumble over your own words, resulting in people thinking you’re trying way too hard and inevitably dismissing you.
The most important thing to remember which will make you flow naturally is to paint your words through your body, you will notice all great speakers do this. Essentially whatever you’re saying or describing, make your body congruent with whatever seems natural, whether it be a smile, strong gesture or so on. For example, if it’s something extremely emotional, pursed lips and slow movements could be appropriate.
Have a look at this video and see the gestures that the speaker is making in relation to what he’s saying, there are also a few sides tips you can adopt.
Notice how when he says things like “Put them all together” he spins his hands around in a circular motion, or when he mentions “I learned the unfailing quality of unconditional love from my wife” he rests his hands on his heart and softens his face.
If you can internalise this concept of painting your words through your body, you will naturally come off as someone who looks like they’ve practiced the art of body language for years.
As mentioned, emotions are crucial to invoke in people, and you want them to be on an emotional roller coaster with an abundance of diversification, humour being one of the main ones.
Although spontaneity is important and has been the general direction of this article, it is always optimal to have a few planned jokes on top of the spur-of-moment things to add onto your common stories that you tell. If you ever had an uncle or older person who would always tell you the same joke when you were a kid, that is essentially what you want to adopt as a public speaker and sprinkle on-top whatever comes naturally in the situation.
If you avidly watch the videos of any great speakers such as Tony Robbins, you will notice that they commonly use the same jokes with correlating stories, this is because what works with one audience that isn’t niche specific, will generally work with all the others.
By now you’re aware of some fundamental mind-frames and techniques to use when you go to public speak. Of course, there are a lot more than this if you wish to further educate, but if you only get these right you will be phenomenal at the craft and ready to blow away any audience at business events or others.