In today’s blog, I’ll write more about how to keep your listeners engaged by allowing your ideas to land when you speak.
Last time, I wrote about Step One in this process: Speak in thought groups. Today, I’ll write about Step Two: Pursue your point with energy and focus. I’ll share some early advice given to me by one of my teachers: the late Mira Rostova, (who for many years was coach to the great film actor, Montgomery Clift).
One of the most common mistakes speakers make is to put focus on (to stress) each word – or too many words — within a complete thought. Speakers who do this are usually attempting to be clear, but the result is often a delivery that sounds unfocused, pedantic, or even condescending. While every word that you speak “counts” and should be understood by the listener, take time to consider which of your words should receive focus and which should not.
Prepare with these three strategies:
1. Review your notes and identify the focus word of each complete thought. Remember that the more words you stress, the more you lose focus and clarity — so be very discriminating as you choose your focus words. Make word-stress choices in creative ways that add depth and an interesting perspective to your ideas. This can add an element of surprise to your delivery, which is very engaging.
2. Underline the focus words of each complete thought.
3. Rehearse aloud, stressing only the focus words of each complete thought. Put your attention on your focus words. Keep them at the forefront of your mind, and pursue them energetically as you speak. My late teacher, Mira Rostova, used to say, “Go for the point! Go for the point!” Mira was talking about pursuing your point with focus and energy. Rehearsing this way will help you drive your ideas and will prepare you for the third and final step in this process.
So, be sure to read my next blog: Step Three for How To Engage Your Listeners by Allowing Your Ideas to Land When You Speak.
Tags: business speaking, business speaking skills, persuading upper management, persuasion techniques, persuasive power, persuasive speaking, presentation skills, successful business speaking, vocal impact, vocal strategies