What is the goal of professional speaking?

The goals of professional speaking are to entertain, inform, inspire, and to get the audience to take action.

The truth is, in order for your presentation or speech to have its greatest effect you need to be able to entertain and wow your audience.

I’m going to give you eight ways that I use in my speeches to keep my audience on the edge of their seats until the end of my talk, starting with these two:

1) Say something right off the bat that connects to the audience.

Let me give you an example of how I open a talk, and you know I’ve given over 5,000 talks and seminars. I almost always open with the same words.

I say, “Congratulations for being here. This means that you are in the top ten percent of adults in our society today.”

I say this in Russia, I say it in China, Finland, Canada, and I say it in Atlanta.

“You are among the top ten percent of adults in our society today.”

“Why is that?”

“It’s because you’re here.”

“You see, only the top ten percent of people in any society ever come to a seminar like this to learn how to be better in some way. The other 90 percent always have a reason for not being here.”

Then I’ll ask, “How many of you know people who could have been here, but had an excuse for not coming?”

Everybody in the audience nods and visualizes and thinks of the person who’s not here, who is usually not a very successful person. Then, I tell them that the fact they are here means that they are in the top ten percent.

And by the way, how can you tell who a person really is? How can you tell what they believe in, what their goals are, and what their hopes, dreams and values are? Can you tell by what they say? Is it what they hope or wish?

No.

It’s only what they do. The fact is that you are here. You’ve taken the actions to be here, and that means you’re in the top ten percent.

Then I’ll say, “Many of you are thinking that if he knew how much money I’m making, he wouldn’t say I was in the top ten percent.”

“Maybe not, but remember that it doesn’t matter where you’re coming from. All that really matters is where you’re going.” 

“And where you are going is determined by what you are doing in the moment. And the fact that you are here means that you intend to have a great future. Remember that future intention determines present action.”

That’s how I start off.

I’ll even say that I’m going to share some ideas with them, that are practiced by the top ten percent of people in this field. I’ll tell them that these ideas can help them to move ahead faster than they ever imagined possible. Then, I launch into my talk.

Listen to how Steve Jobs connects to his audience almost immediately in his 2005 Stanford Commencement address (video below).

2) Connect with emotion.

Sometimes when I’m talking to my audiences I will say, “Tell me, what percentage of people’s thinking is emotional, and what percentage is rational or logical?”

And people will guess for a while, and then they’ll finally say, “Oh, well it’s ten percent logical and 80 or 90 percent emotional.”

I tell them no. People’s thinking is 100 percent emotional.

What does this mean? This means that people think emotionally, and justify logically.

The subconscious mind, and our emotions actually function at several thousand times the speed of logic.

For example, you may meet a person and instantly like them. You may find later that there are a lot of reasons for you to instantly like that person. Your emotions acted like a switchblade, instantaneously, but your logic followed after and you figured out the reasons.

Come back for the next set of great public speaking tips!

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