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Essential Speaking Skills
All about the art of public speaking.

Secrets to Story Telling Success

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 by Erick C. Vice

Stories are timeless. (Think “Three Little Pigs” or “Sleeping Beauty”) Your personal stories can also be timeless. They connect with your audience and add credibility to your message. They also bring a dimension of sincerity and authenticity to your speech or presentation. All these (connection, credibility and sincerity) are essential elements to be a successful and well-liked public speaker.

If you have been an avid reading of this public speaking blog, you would notice how much I expound on the importance of personal stories.

6 + 6 = Everything you need to know about public speaking
Essence of Public Speaking in six words - tell a story, make a point. Tell another story, make a point.

Things Happen, Pay Attention
This is a workshop I sat in by Jim Key, 2003 World Champion Speaker. A lot of us complained that it is difficult to come up with interesting and impactful stories for your speeches. However he thinks otherwise. His argument is that stories are everywhere if we start to pay attention.

Speaking Secret #4: Speak from the Heart
This is a personal account on how the success of a speech depends on its “heart” quality. And one avenue is through personal anecdotes.

In today’s article, I want to share with the “secrets” to story telling success, credits to Ed Tate (2000 World Champion Speaker). Frankly, this is not going to be much of a secret once I pen it here (grins). Nonetheless good things are meant to be shared. And I hope that you will milk it to the fullest.

We have been talking a lot of about the importance of stories. But what is a story essentially make up of? 4Hs!


Although most stories are perceived as entertainment, they can also serve as a trigger for your audience to think and reflect. In fact, they should. The success of your speech lies in the alteration you brought upon your audience. It could be as simple as getting your audience to ponder upon their current actions. For example “Am I wasting my time on unimportant things?” Or to look at areas in their life that they may not wish to initially. For example “Am I responsible for my broken marriage or family?”

By blatantly asking these questions, you may run the risk of offending your audience. Some of these questions could be too confrontational. And instead of nudging your audience to face them, you caused them to hide and switch off. However, when you share a personal story about how your pondering of “Am I responsible for my broken marriage or family?” resulted in the positive changes in your life, you subtlely hint your audience to do the same, without making them feel guilty or defensive. That’s the power of stories!


Stories, in my opinion, are the most effective vehicles to get into the hearts of your audience. One of the ways to win your audience over is by letting them know that you are one of them. A personal story provide you with the mean to do so as they can relate to your story, and thus your message. If you break apart every successful speech, there is always a story embedded inside it. In Jim Key’s winning speech, he opened with a humorous story about how his son caught him crying in the movies. He later ended with a story of how a dumb and deaf girl inspired a three thousand crowd with her song (in sign language) - It is never too late to dream. Or Earl Spencer’s eulogy for his sister, Princess Diana. He shared - with tears and grief - what his sister confided in him: “It is my innermost feelings of suffering that make it possible for me to connect with my constituency of the rejected…” Or President Clinton’s 1993 speech to 5000 ministers in Memphis, where he relate a conversation he had with a young kid. Here’s an excerpt:

The other day I was in California at a town meeting, and a handsome young man stood up and said: “Mr President, my brother and I, don’t belong to gangs. We don’t have guns. We don’t do drugs. We want to go to school. We want to be professionals. We want to work hard. We want to do well. We want to have families. And we changed our school because the school we were in was so dangerous. So when we stowed up to the new school to register, my brother and I were standing in line and somebody ran into the school and started shooting a gun. My brother was shot down standing right in front of me at the safer school.” The freedom to do that kind of thing is not what Martin Luther King lived and died for, not what people gathered in this hallowed church for the night before he was assassinated in April of 1968. If you had told anybody who was here in that church on that night that we would abuse our freedom in that way, they would have found it hard to believe. And I tell you, it is our moral duty to turn it around…

A powerful story with a poignant point! That’s Mr Clinton for you. (By the way, I think he was one of the better speakers among the twenty century Presidents)


The third “H” is humor. As the cliche goes - laughter is the best medicine, and the audience love to be entertained. Ask anyone.

Sometimes humor can also be used to lessen the blow you are about to unleash on your audience. By making the problem funny, they are more likely to accept it. However, I will like to add something that Ed Tate said during the convention. Though humor is a good to have in every speech, it is optional. To some extent it is true. Let’s use the merciless shooting story that Clinton related. He had a very serious message to his people. Even though there was no sign of humor, the story on its own was powerful and supported his message extremely well. There is so much more that can be said about humor. We shall leave it to another day. Let’s move on.


As my buddy JJ emphasised in his article The Metaphysics of Public Speaking, no matter how entertaining your speech is, you must have a point (or a message). Your audience must walk away learning something new or be motivated to act on something. That’s the hidden obligation that every speaker must undertake. Ed Tate call this “heavy-hitting”, your fourth H. At the end of the day, every speaker has a lesson to share with his or her audience. He may mask it with humor or deliver it through personal stories, but the lesson must still be there! Some people ask me, which should come first. Story or lesson? Hard to say. It is like the chicken and egg puzzle. Personally it is easier to start with a story since you can always extract a lesson. However if you start with a lesson, it becomes harder to source for personal stories, especially if it hasn’t happen yet. Your best bet is to start a story bank. Collect stories and include key lessons that can be shared. Sometimes, the lesson comes first. Write it down and keep a look out for relevant stories to support the lesson. Remember, things happen… PAY ATTENTION!!!

So my friends, here’s the four essential building blocks of a successful story!

Head: Think!
Heart: Connect!
Humor: Laughs!
Heavy Hitting: Lesson!

In the next post, I shall share with you how you can write one within ten minutes or less. Meanwhile, start collecting stories of your own!

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Be a Champion Public Speaker

Thursday, January 25, 2007 by Erick C. Vice

Being a champion public speaker doesn't necessarily mean that you are the best there is. Rather, it is following the philosophy of appreciating what you have, living your life as a champion, and enjoying the adventure of life by helping others enjoy theirs.

Questions you may have include:

  • What should be appreciated?
  • How does one live as a champion?
  • Why help others?

Appreciation

Appreciate and be thankful of what you have, especially concerning your public speaking or its effect on your career. Don't take your speaking or job for granted. Even the worst job is better than no job at all.

If you are presently out of work, appreciate your friends and family. Be thankful that you have skills and abilities. These will all be important in getting your next position.

Live as a champion

To live your life as a champion means to always seek to stay healthy, knowledgeable, excellent, valuable and honorable.

Health

You can't speak very effectively if you don't feel well. You should take care of your physical and emotional health, so that do what you want and need to do. If you are healthy, you simply feel good.

Knowledge and skill

A speaker needs to continually improve his or her knowledge in speaking techniques and subject matters. If you are knowledgeable and skilled, then your self-esteem will blossom.

Excellence

You must do your best and be able to to achieve your goals. Persistence and conscientiousness are important. If you accomplish things and are excellent at them, you feel confident about yourself.

Value

You must also make sure you provide value to your audience. The speech should be something they want and need. If you provide worthwhile speeches, you will be considered a valuable speaker.

Character

You must seek to maintain the position of being honorable and honest in your dealing with other people. In this way, you can hold your head up high and be respected for your integrity.

Enjoy

Life is a journey or adventure. Your chosen profession should also be an adventure, where you reap rewards and enjoy the trip. Hard work may be necessary, but you don't want to have the attitude that you are stuck in some drudgery. Enjoy the adventure.

Part of that enjoyment is giving back and helping others to enjoy their adventure. It is often difficult to find places to help others, so keep your eyes open. Give others at work a helping hand. Mentor to young people.

Giving and helping will only increase your enjoyment as a champion in life.

In conclusion

To be a public speaking champion, you should have the attitude of appreciating what you have, you should live your life as a champion, and help others to succeed.

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Article: How to prepare your mind and body to give a great speech

Saturday, January 20, 2007 by Erick C. Vice


Blogger’s Note: Hi folks! For the next one week, I will be camping in Yellowstone National Park with a group of close buddies. However, do not despair! I have set aside seven extremely useful and easy-to-apply public speaking articles for your reading pleasure. I would also encourage all of you to spend some time evaluating the ideas shared in these articles. Try them out and see how they work for you. Later!!

(Written by Sandra Schrift)

Sure you have catecholamines – all speakers do. (including Sir Winston Churchill and Presidents Kennedy, Carter, and Reagan.) Those are the chemicals that make you sweat, make your heart beat fast and make your hands shake. Get rid of those chemical and psychological reactions by becoming message-centered and audience-centered, not self-centered.

1. Replace fear and negative noise with positive affirmations.
Create new beliefs that nurture you and support you with new ways of thinking. The New Adult You! example: “I am well prepared, and the audience wants me to succeed.”

2. Do a quiet meditation, visualization, or exercise before you speak.
Breathe deeply. Deep breathing sends a message to your brain that you have nothing to fear. It calms you down.

3. Who cares if you’re nervous?
Researchers have found that most people report noticing little or no anxiety in a speaker. If you are thoroughly prepared, your internal nervousness seldom shows. Prepare 150%.

4. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
Talk out loud, and walk around while you practice. Use the same physical energy you plan to use on the day of your presentation. The Coach sez. . . practice in front of your mirror .Practice in the car. If you can concentrate while driving, you will be able to pull it from your unconscious when are you in front of the group. Make your points sound spontaneous and conversational.

5. Exercise is an antidote to stress.
Arrive early and take a brisk walk for at least five minutes. If it is raining or snowing outside, you can still do some body stretches.

6. Abstain from caffeine and alcohol before you speak.
You don’t need more jitters. Always wear your favorite outfit and use attractive colors. Women, go simple on the jewelry. Avoid too much black and white.

7. For trembling hands, place your hands on the side of your chair, and, count to 10 as you try to lift the seat.
This is an isometric exercise that works and nobody will notice you doing it.

8. Don’t be perfect.
Give yourself permission to make mistakes. No one is perfect in real life. Get the butterflies in your stomach to fly in formation. That’s how you convert your stress into speaking power!

9. Reduce your nervousness by taking several deep breaths immediately before you ‘re introduced.
And for you chocoholics, eat some chocolate to relax your vocal chords.

11. If you experience dry mouth, chew your tongue to increase saliva flow.
Singers do this. Close your lips and bite down on the entire surface. Always have a glass of tepid (not cold) water nearby.

12. Focus on a friendly face in the audience.
Pretend you are having a conversation, rather than giving a speech. Just be yourself.

13. The Coach sez. . .Most of all, enjoy yourself and have fun.
SMILE. After all, aren’t you glad to be there? The sign of a mature adult is one who does not take himself too seriously.

14. Here is a vocal warm-up exercise used at the Ryal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
Say:PaPaPaPa, BaBaBaBa, TaTaTaTa, DaDaDaDa, KaKaKaKa, GaGaGaGa Then do it backwards. (from Robert and Rande Gedaliah)

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Does your speech contain substance?

by Erick C. Vice


Here’s some food for thought. Whenever you give a speech or a presentation, do you deliver value to your audience? Value could come in the form of tips or solutions that your audience can take home and use immediately, be it to solve a problem or to become more effective. In other words, your speech or presentation must contain substance!

Patricia Fripp, a well respected speaker in the industry defined substance as “what makes an audience’s business and personal life better if they act on it”. It could come in the form of a three step strategy, a recommended book to read or tips to solve a problem.

If there is no substance then there is really no point wasting your audience’s time delivering the speech. And for those of who are always seeking to impact your audience, this would be a good starting point. The next time you deliver your speech, first take a step back and ask yourself the following questions:

1. Does my speech contain substance?
2. Can the audience use it right away, like today?
3. Do they get better after hearing my speech?

If yes, thank you!
If no, get going. Your audience deserved it.

Inspired by “Speaking for Impact - Connecting with Every Audience” by Shirley E. Nice. This is the second time I am reading it but there is still a lot to get out of it. Strongly recommended!

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The most fundamental and critical principle a speaker has to know

by Erick C. Vice


Yesterday after my morning swim, I ended up in the local library browsing through stacks of public speaking and presentation related books. Sadly, only a few are worth borrowing back. The rest of them (~90%) talks about the same stuff. These books either spell out 101 techniques to giving a better speech or they let you in on yet another 101 tips that all speakers should know (yeah right!) The titles didn’t help much either. They are bland, boring, common, dull, monotonous, uninspiring… (yawns) You get my point! And then it dawned upon me why there are still so many bland, boring, common, dull, monotonous and uninspiring speakers out there terrorizing the unsuspecting audience like me and you…

And no, it has got nothing to do with the bland, boring.. (okok.. u get my point) … books. The responsibility lies on the speaker!

Here’s how I look at it. Many speakers fail to understand a very fundamental yet critical principle in speaking. And sadly, no amount of books - no matter how interesting or boring - can help make them better until they understand it.

(Drumroll please)

The speaker got to believe in what he or she has to say. That’s the most basic requirement for all speakers. If they do not believe in their message, they should not even waste time delivering the message.

He can read hundreds of public speaking books. He can be the most experienced speaker in the world. He can win the most number of speaking accolades. But if he doesn’t believe in his message, he will never be able to impact the audience. Period. Conversely, if a speaker believes his message with all his heart, he will be able to win the audience over no matter how inexperienced he is. Techniques in this case become secondary.

In Michael Jeffrey’s book titled Success Secrets of the Motivational Superstars, he noted that these superstars (like Brian Tracy, Anthony Robbins and Patricia Fripp) had a vision of themselves making a difference in people’s lives by sharing their message, one that was bigger than their fear of appearing foolish in front of an audience. As a result, they were willing to go out and fall on their face in front of as many audiences as were necessary for them to “get it right”. There you go! Not only can a message that you believe in allow you to impact your audience, it also help reduce your fear of speaking.

Think back to the past speeches that you have gave. It could be a business presentation to your client. It could be a presentation about your project findings to your classmates. It could be a keynote speech at your company annual conference. Was there some part of you that do not believe in the presentation? Like “This product isn’t that good anyway” or “I don’t even trust my findings that I have gotten”, “These guys won’t even listen”… If the answer is yes or maybe, then you have just sabotaged your own presentation. At most, you will leave your audience thinking to themselves, “Boy she sure was good,” but you will never be able to leave them thinking, “Wow, I really can achieve my dreams!” Notice the difference?

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Learn by REFLECTING on your experiences

by Erick C. Vice

A month ago, I wrote an article on how you can be twice as good in 70 days by doing daily debriefs. How is it coming along? Notice any significant changes in your presentations? As you may recall, a person learn NOT by his experience but by REFLECTING on his experience. As such, for an individual to see improvements in his or her speaking ability, he or she needs to consistently evaluate their speeches and then plan how they can be better than their previous speech. This applies to professionals too.

I decided to post my daily debrief on last week’s talk The Purple Entrepreneur as a guide on how you can do your own evaluation too.

What happen?
Gave a 45 mins speech to a group of 40 students and lecturers at Singapore Polytechnic (similar to high school in States). From their response, I concluded that my speech was good but not that great. Could have been phenomenal!

Why?
I got extremely positive feedback from the people who spoke to me after the speech. They loved what I shared with them. My speech got them thinking. Some even commented that I was lively and funny which made the hour very entertaining for them. In fact, this speech opened up several doors of training opportunities for me in the coming month. Generally all these feedback were very encouraging but I was hoping for something even more impactful like “Gosh… your speech is a turning point in my life!” or “Now I know that I can be successful too.. thank you!”

What work?

  1. The variety of activities that I have included in my speech i.e. questioning, audience involvement, games, demonstrations. Even though most of the people came in looking exhausted, all - except for one - were kept awake and fully engaged.
  2. Rapport was built very quickly with the audience. Interaction with them before the speech worked extremely well. Getting them to know four people before my speech was effective too. Not only did it reduce the aloofness among the audience, it also raised the energy of the room significantly. Somehow when I begin, it doesn’t feel like I was talking to them for the first time.
  3. They love the humor which makes it very easy for me to connect with them. I see many smiling faces and audience arching forward to listen. That kept me going even though it was already late in the afternoon.
  4. Stories, especially personal anecdotes worked very well with the audience. Not only did it added color to my presentation, it underscored the message that I wanted to put across to them.

What did not work?

  1. We started late. People were only trickling in at 4pm (where the talk was supposed to begin). As such, the entire speech ended late. There was no time for me to answer specific questions which could have mean a lot to them.
  2. Impact was also greatly reduced because of a minute long acknowledgements to the audience at the start. Instead of giving more content at a short amount of time, more time could have been spent coaching the individuals on how they can become successful entrepreneurs.
  3. A slight hiccup: The handout was only printed on one page. The second page was missing as such I could not give out the handout at the end of the presentation.

What did you learn?

What if we start late?
Firstly, there is every possibility that the talk will start late. So be ready to cut short your presentation so that you still end on time! In my case, keeping to an hour long presentation may not be the best thing to do as it will eat into the networking/dinner session. It would also be wise to pioritize the content of your speech so that you know what to leave out when time is short.

To thank or not to thank?
Thanking the audience or showing gratitude at the start of the presentation may not be the best thing to do. This I learnt only after consulting the champion speakers and some public speaking books. Allow me to share my findings.

In the case of this talk, I felt that it was important for me to acknowledge the audience, especially the staff and lecturers as I was afraid that they - being more experienced than me in the entrepreneurial field - may not accept me or my speech. As such, I made it clear that my talk was more of a sharing and I was very honored to have them here. Although it did create a listening, I realized that it may not be necessary.

One of the greatest speakers in the century, Winston Churchill, once said that praise in the beginning of a talk sounds like flattery, whereas the same praise wedged in the middle of the speech comes off as sincerity. Ah-ha!

Also, I discovered that there are two ways that I could have added impact without discounting my credibility. One is by increasing my stage presence (we will talk more about it in a later post) and by incorporating an impactful introduction (one without all the pleasantries).

Murphy at work again?
Should have checked before my presentation. But well… it is Murphy! I manage to salvage the situation by collecting the audience’s email addresses and sending them the soft copy within the next 24 hrs.

What can you work on improving?

Through this talk, I have learnt the importance of presence and a powerful introduction. The truth is we do not have a second chance to create a strong first impression. So we have to do it right the first time. I am still in the midst of researching this aspect. Once I am done with it, I will share my findings with all of you.

I also need to learn how to manage my time more effectively. If you are given a 45 mins time slot, prepare a 40 mins presentation so that you have 5 mins buffer to handle unforseen situations like people coming in late or deepening a particular portion of your presentation that your audience may be interested in.

Wow! Cool stuff isn’t it? So, remember this… you learn not by your experiences but by REFLECTING on your experiences!

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How do I start my speech powerfully?

by Erick C. Vice

Last week, I wrote a rather long self evaluation on my recent talk at Singapore Polytechnic: "Learn by reflecting on your experiences". One of the dilemnas I had at that talk was whether to thank or not to thank the audience at the introduction. If you recalled, a large portion of the audience was made up of senior lecturers who are much more experienced than me (i.e seen more of the world than me). As such, I am fearful that if I did not set them up correctly by letting them know that this is a sharing more than a lecture, they may be resistant to what I have to say. There may be internal conversations like “Why should I listen to this young punk?” or “I already know everything that he is going to say”.

Not withstanding the fact that this fear of mine could be unfounded, there are many people out there who wonder how they should begin their speech. Should they first thank the audience before starting? How much time do they need to warm up the audience? What are some ways to create a listening?

Over the week, I did some research and even conduct a mini experiment through a talk in the weekend. I believe my findings would be able to shed some light to you and answer this fundamental question - How do I start my speech powerfully?

::Common Ground - We want to create an impact with our speech!::

Firstly, let’s establish a common ground. When we give a speech, we want to create an impact! We want the audience to be memerized. We want them to remember your message (and to remember you as well… in a good way of coz). We want to wow the audience and influence them to do what you want. We want them to talk about your speech even months or years later. But if we were to start our introduction with pleasantries like thanking the audience or telling them how happy you are to be here, we could be wasting precious minutes and reduce your impact. So there is no doubt about it. YOU GOT TO MAKE AN IMPACT RIGHT FROM THE START! Unfortunately, thanking the audience, acknowledging some people, telling unrelated stories (eg. how you got here), telling them how excited/nervous/anxious you are or asking irrelevant questions like how are you feeling today will not do the trick.

Then the challenge is this - How can you make your audience WANT to listen to you right from the start? In my case, how should I write my introduction such that even the senior lecturers WANT to listen to me and be engaged throughout the entire speech. Here are some pointers I discovered over the week.

1. Be sincere

Nothing beats being sincere. If you speak with the intent of making a difference to the audience or adding value to them, you will win the audience over effortlessly. Unfortunately I cannot teach you how to be sincere. It is something intrinsic. However, you can start by answering these questions.

Why am I giving this speech?
What can the audience get out of my speech?
What is it about my speech that is different?

Another effective way to invoke sincerity is by sharing personal anecdotes that relate to your message. Not only does it help convey sincerity, it also connects your audience by pulling at their heart strings!

Last weekend, there was a student speaker who was sharing about his experience in Stockholm. There wasn’t really a proper intro. He just went straight into his mini anecdotes but it worked very well! The anecdotes were real and funny and he effortlessly engaged the audience. That’s the power of stories!

2. Set up common ground right from the start

You need to show your audience that you are on their side and one of the easiest way is to set up a common ground. Talk about something that they can relate to. For example, “Terrorism is real and anyone of us can fall victim to these threats” or “Cancer is the number one killer in Singapore. We know it but how many of us did anything about it?” In my case, since the audience are made up of entrepreneur-wannabes, I may want to say something like “Everyone wants to be an outstanding entrepreneur these days. But why you?”.

Also notice my last two examples. Not only did I start with a common ground, I have also included a rhetorical question that sets the audience thinking. This technique (use of rhetorical questions) will make it easy for you to transition into the main message.

3. Disarm your audience right from the start

This is especially useful and even critical for a persuasion speech. Here’s a few:

Many of you think that you know everything but the truth is you know nothing…
We are all going to die.

If you have a good life, you are going to die. If you have a crappy life, you are still going to die…

The world is getting smaller, which means more competition. There are two implications to this trend. One, we have to get more sophiscated and two, we have to keep growing. However, the traditional means of education is lacking. There is so much information out there yet we are not learning fast enough; and worse, not at the critical areas… Are we doomed?
Looks like it… but there is a ray of hope!

For all three examples, I played with the audience’s fear. One, they know nothing. Two, they are all going to die. Three, they are doomed. When properly delivered, it breaks the audience’s defense and immediately creates a listening. In their heads, they are screaming for you to deliver them from their fears. For some of them, it may create doubt in themselves (Hmm, do I really know nothing??) which gives you an opening. Of course, if you do not have strong points to support the shocking statements you made earlier, you are going to lose the audience anyway.

4. If you must thank them, do it in the middle

My communication lecturer once taught me NEVER to thank the audience at the end of my speech. Because being appreciated is not what we want to the audience to take away, especially when we spent an hour or more persuading the audience to take a stand or shifting their paradigm. Instead of thanking them at the end, she recommended us to include a call for action.

During my last contest speech in States, I made her proud by following her advice. Instead of a typical “thank you”, I left my audience with a quote that reinforces my message that we have to let go of their fears to live fully. I stood on a chair (I did it in the introduction too when I shared with them my rappelling experience) and looked them in the eyes and said this: “Sometimes you have to let go to see if it is worth holding to”

But how about thanking them at the start? If you have realized by now, it is a no no. I later learnt that if you must thank them, do it in the middle. Why you may ask? Coz at the start, the audience knows that you are compelled to thank them. And when you do thank them, it sounds like flattery whereas the same thanks in the middle sounds like sincerity! I wasn’t sure if that was true and hence I did an experiment.

The experiment took place last weekend. I was invited to do a 15 mins sharing as the past president of SPIN (an entrepreneurial organization in Philadelphia). My intent was clear - to acknowledge the efforts of my seniors from the past five batches. To begin with these acknowledgements seem to a natural thing… until I stopped myself. I decided to try something else - insert the acknowledgements at the middle. The introduction went like this:

SPIN has been through a lot… (received applause)

I still remember last year Stella, the 5th batch President gathered all of us and passionately shared with us the vision of SPIN; and how we can make a difference. At that moment, seeds were sown.

Shortly, my batch took over. We gathered all the juniors and passionately shared with them the vision of SPIN; and how they can make a difference. At that moment, seeds were sown.

As I am speaking right now, the juniors are gathering their juniors and passionately sharing with them the vision of SPIN; and how they can make a difference. At that moment… (some of the audience complete the sentence for me - “seeds were sown”)

If you were to trace back to the founding of SPIN, you will realize that this process is repeated for every single batch. Today, I will not have been able to share with you the fruits that SPIN is bearing if not for every single one of them who sow the seeds…

Thank you seniors!

The result was clear. It was short and yet impactful. Not only did I engage the audience immediately (with the applause and having someone fill up my sentence), it was different. Not your usual thank you speech. It has a story. It brings people back to the making of SPIN. It has a lesson… AND I still get to thank the seniors. In fact, such an introduction made the acknowledgements even more meaningful. I had the seniors thanking me for the speech after that.

So here you go, start your speech powerfully with the above four pointers and you will be remembered!

5. Finally, if you have to include pleasantries in your introduction, please avoid cliches at all cost!

For example:

It gives me great pleasure to be here today.
Thank you for inviting me here.. I am so excited!
A very good evening to all of you…

Not only is it boring, you will be perceived as lazy because you won’t even put in extra effort to come up with a more interesting introduction.

Winston Churchill once said “Opening amenities are open inanities” By starting with something pleasant but unoriginal, you will sound dim and dull, which is 99% of all speakers out there. Ok maybe 98.5%. However if you want to stand out and impact your audience, drop all the cliche introductions and pleasantries. Start with a power opener and make your intro count!

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