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‹ View all articles 15th October 2013

How to make a Powerful Point with your Speech

Writing your Content

You have a great speech topic that could change your audience's perception for the better. Even though you know what your point is and why your topic is important... how will your audience? Here are Ginger's five ways to emphasize your key point in a speech... a point that your audience will never forget.

1. Make your Point through Statistics

Ginger Top Tip: Use one powerful fact to support your argument.
 
Less is more with using statistics in public speaking. Because facts can be quite abstract, your audience will often need just a couple of key facts, rather than a raft of data.
 
The best statistics are also illustrated by examples. Rather than saying "There are six gazillion terrabites of information on the internet" (or whatever it might be), tell us "If you were going to try and read everything on the internet, it would take you 60 thousand years, day and night" The former is too abstract to relate to - the latter is more easy to understand and absorb.
 
Beware! Statistics can be misused by speakers who intentionally or unintentionally fiddle the numbers to support their argument. If you don't examine and explain what the statistics mean, then they are nothing but numbers that mean very little. All statistics are contextual, so plucking a number out of a news article or a research study and including it in your speech or paper without taking the time to understand the statistic may cause people to question, rather than agree with your point.
 
In general, statistics tend to appeal to 'right brained' listeners who prefer to rely on logic, facts, and evidence. However, long ago, Aristotle pointed out that we often need more than just to appeals to the audience's logic. Four our point to be made powerfully, we also need to appeal to the audience's emotion.
 

2. Make your Point through Comparisons

Ginger Top Tip: Bring colour and depth to your point through using analogies

When explaining complex ideas, comparisons and analogies work really well as evidence. The comparison of one familiar thing with another in order to promote understanding has been a rhetorical device for thousands of years.

Analogies can be effective because they use ideas, information and values of the audience to draw a connection to your speech topic—and to you as a speaker. Analogies create connections between you and the audience.

“This afternoon we want to talk about ‘The ballot or the bullet.’ The ballot or the bullet explains itself.” ~ Malcolm X 

3. Make your Point through Stories

Ginger Top Tip: Use stories to show rather than tell your point.

A powerful way to make your point is storytelling. The best speakers often use stories as a powerful tool for demonstrating and bringing to life a key message. It’s one of the best ways to be memorable. And a really juicy story will keep the audience on the edge of their seats… quite literally.

There’s a very big difference (and the audience can always tell) from reliving your experience and reading from a script. Sharing your story from a multi-dimensional angle means that as you tell it, you can go into any little side detail at any given moment. The audience can see think and feel what you’re feeling because it’s your story, your perception, your senses that are being shared.

And if you feel concerned about telling a personal story, don't forget that in the minds of the audience, the story is not about you. Stories are ways of the audience relating to the speaker's experience as they create instant resonance. Ironically, the audience will rarely be thinking about you as you speak, they will be applying your story to themselves.

4. Make your Point using Questions

Ginger Top Tip: Involve your audience with your subject matter and they're more likely to remember your point.

Questions can be wonderful way to make your point. As we discussed in Socratic questioning questions are a useful tool to connect the audience to the purpose of your talk or discussion – and might be used towards the start of a talk to create audience buy-in, or towards the end to evaluate what has been discussed. Another way to make your point is to start your talk with a question. When starting with a question, the title of the presentation usually acts as the first point, then your question is the evidence, and then you would make the point again.

5. Make your Point through Quotes

Ginger Top Tip: Pick a quote that you love and it will add credibility & depth to your point.

Similarly, quotes can also work as your evidence needed to make your point.

A good quote can make your point by using witty and inspiring words from a verifiable and trusted source. Someone giving a speech on wealth management could say something like this...

“As Oscar Wilde said... Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination. Today I'm going to challenge you on what your means... means to you. And believe it or not we're going to use your imagination to get us there.”

This quote uses inspiration as evidence because you used a quote from a humorous famous writer.

Quotes from Einstein (“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination".) or Mark Twain (“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”) are also a way to introduce legitimacy and humor into your speaking; both left and right brain messages. Make a collection of quotes that fit with your speech. Even if you don't utilize them they could be useful if you're asked questions.

When you use these five ways to make your point; you can be sure that you will provide interesting evidence to make that precious point in your speech. Not only will they "get" it... they'll never forget it.

 

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