Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globes received more attention than the biggest Hollywood stars. It was powerful because of her use of proven techniques for inspirational messages. Let’s break down her five key techniqes.
1. Be authentic.
“…a kid watching from the cheap seats as my mom came through the door bone tired from cleaning other people’s houses.”
By sharing about her real life, especially the not-so-glamorous, Oprah becomes relatable.
2. Be vulnerable.
“What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”
Speaking the truth can leave you vulnerable. Vulnerability shared breeds trust.
3. Use emotion-laden words.
“under siege” “a blind eye to corruption” “to tyrants and victims and secrets and lies” “ how we love and how we rage”
Strong emotion is captivating and memorable. Why be bland when you can be powerful?
4. Paint a story.
“In 1964, I was a little girl sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother’s house”
Oprah didn’t say, “I was watching t.v.” Instead, she added the sensory detail so that we could be in the story with her.
5. Challenge everyone to act.
"Become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say “me too” again.”
Build to the final moment with a clear call to action. Your message isn’t enough if your listeners don’t do anything about it after they leave the room.
Craft your next speech with these techniques in mind and be a superstar with your audience!
The stage lights were positioned in the worst possible way - making it almost impossible for me to see my audience. I was silently wishing for a baseball cap but instead settled for squinting into the large auditorium. It is always important to me to be able to see my participants, but especially when I am about to ask a question. So I asked my question, stepped strategically into a less debilitating spot and peered out at my group to look for an answer.
Not a single hand was raised.
Is this a presenter's nightmare or an opportunity to boost your value? I choose to view it as an opportunity, and here's how you can, too.
1. If someone's hand is up immediately, we are tempted to call on that person and move forward. In doing so, we are cheating other participants from some "think time." If you truly want your audience to remember the information, they must have processing time.
2. Wait time, the seconds that elapse between asking a question and accepting a response, is critical for learners who process more slowly and deeply. This often includes members of your audience who are introverts. It may take them a bit longer to be ready to share their thoughts, but when they do, their answers are usually of higher quality than those of the speedy hand raisers.
3. If we ask, "Are there any questions?" and don't allow wait time, a fairly large portion of our audience will end up walking away with unanswered questions. Back on the job, these unanswered questions can turn into costly mistakes and failed initiatives. However, if you ask "What are the questions you still have?" and wait at least 5-8 seconds, you are sure to have a few surface.
Wait time is an essential skill for any presenter, manager or facilitator of adult learning. Try to practice your wait time skills this week by counting to 8 after asking a question. Become comfortable with the silence by remembering the value it creates.
For even more ideas...
Anne Beninghof is passionate about teaching and learning.
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