Crafting a Winning Speech: It’s a Pain and Pleasure Thing

Joy Fisher-Sykes, a business consultant and coach at the Sykes Group, says that audiences can’t be fooled by an inauthentic oration. She recommends ditching statistics and making a real connection with the audience. Here’s how:

Know your audience. “It’s about making a connection with what they are experiencing,” Fisher-Sykes says. “And remember, the only things that move people are pleasure and pain.”

Avoid dry, statistics-filled orations. No one will remember.

Tell your story. “People don’t remember statistics; they remember a great story, especially one they can see themselves in,” she says.

Keep it real. “When a speaker shows some level of vulnerability, the audience will immediately think, ‘Wow, they are human, too,’” says Fisher-Sykes.

Think carefully about handing out the text of the speech to your audience ahead of time. “It can work well, or it can be a distraction,” she says.


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