Speaking on the spot is difficult. Some of the best speakers always have a structure in their head to get through challenging questions. Today, we will go through creating outlines for two of the most common speaking opportunities at work: speaking in status updates and in meetings where decisions get made.
Whether you’d want to inform, persuade or entertain people, it’s good to know what’s in their minds. In the same way that great jokes fell flat when you’ve heard them before, knowing what your audience already is the key to crafting great speeches.
This information allows us to separate what do we need to say and what do we not need to say to the audience. One suggestion is to put what audience already know in the intro, then build the speech on what the audience don’t need to know.
We will use two tools today. An empathy map used by UX designers and theory on how to construct an argument from Stephen Toulmin.
(Watch the video for details)
An argument consists of:
– Claim – what you want the audience to remember
– Support – what can explain the claim
– Warrant – the how and why
What can happen after you do the exercise?
Your audience may already know everything you’ve got to say or that you find out you need much more time to get the audience to get them to where you want.
In the next video, we will talk about how to use common structure to speak well in the everyday situation.
Creating reports, managing your own work, excel skills. The average worker has to have many skills to develop. But, these skills are not equal, one of the, in particular, is a keystone skill that will allow you to stand out from the crowd.
Yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s the skill to speak well. Learning how to speak well helps you in work and in life.
Your thoughts need to be distilled
One of the best tips in writing is to read your writing out loud. Why would you do this? Reading your writing transfers the words from a piece of paper to an audio form. We have plenty of experience consuming information as audience, thus listening a written material in a talk enhances its accessibility of your ideas.
Alain de Botton, a philosopher and a writer who has written countless of books, says:
“I passionately believe that’s it’s not just what you say that counts, it’s also how you say it – that the success of your argument critically depends on your manner of presenting it!”
The medium of speaking limits the arguments using the natural human attention span. Don’t speak any longer than the amount people can remember, usually about 7 minutes straight. Therefore, speaking distills your thoughts because of its form, and make your thoughts more accessible to others.
Speaking helps you build meaningful relationships
Speaking has been around much longer than writing. According to Yuval Harari in the book Sapiens, 40 000 years ago, human’s main advantage compared to other animals was that we talk to each other. We created the largest social collaborative groups.
Nowadays, the best public speakers are stand-up comics. People like Louise C.K. because he is very relatable. Watch this clip and pay attention to how he responds to the crowd.
(watch the video above)
He made people uncomfortable at first then justify the payoff with “for Science!”, that’s good speaking. Because speaking thrives in active listening. Even though public speaking appears to be one way, it works the best if the speaker knows how the audience will respond, and build that into the talk. It’s about knowing who your audience is. This habit of thinking of who you are talking to helps you build meaningful relationship with others.
Becoming memorable and influential
Great speakers like the Obamas are influential. Because both Barack and Michelle are memorable. They live in your consciousness, in fact the consciousness of the world. If you look closely to their talks, their speech contains many rhetorical devices.
You can study this too, and regardless of the topic that you are speaking of, people may just find you a much more interesting, remarkable person. Influence will come naturally afterwards.
To speak is human
Learning to speak well is a worthy investment of your time. You will get to distill your thoughts and make them accessible to others, help you relate to others and build a meaningful relationship with them, help you become memorable and influential. All things that will make you a great human being who actively listens and able to articulate your opinions in a civil discourse.
In the next video, we will talk about how to know your audience before you meet them.