You need these 3 things to make forceful presentations without roaring or using big voice power! [Wednesdays: “Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”]
How do you convey force in public speaking?
By speaking in an aggressive manner?
By stomping your feet or extending your body movements so your audience can see how passionate you are?
While these actions help you put force into your speech or presentation, there are also peaceful and moderate ways to make your statements punchy and impactful.
According to Dale Carnegie in the book, “The Art of Public Speaking,”
“Loudness is not force, though force at times may be attended by noise. Mere roaring never made a good speech, yet there are moments―moments, mind you, not minutes―when big voice power may be used with tremendous effect.”
Carnegie believes force is both a cause (an inner force from a speaker) and an effect (an outer force felt by an audience).
Inner force comes from a combination of your emotions, beliefs, and perceptions.
One of the factors that greatly influences this force?
As a speaker, you must first be convinced of the truth, importance, and meaning of what you’re going to say to be able to give a forceful and impactful delivery.
“Conviction convinces… and produces emotional tension.”
Your inner force will compel you to deliver an attention-grabbing and effective speech or presentation to your listeners.
When that happens, an outer force will grip your audience, causing them to feel and even get convinced by your convictions.
This force will lead your listeners to welcome your message or take action after listening to your talk.
Carnegie said that force is nothing without purpose.
In his words,
“Purpose is the backbone of force.”
Without it, your speech or presentation will be flabby, like an “iridescent yet spineless jellyfish.”
Another factor that influences force in your talk aside from your conviction and way of delivery?
As a speaker, you should be aware about how this aspect bears force in your statements.
Here are some of Carnegie’s suggestions on how you can attain force in your speech or presentation through wording:
Choice of words.
In his book, Carnegie enumerated a few categories of words that you can use to make your message more impactful.
COMMONLY USED words are more forceful than rarely used words.
✓ – “She juggles more than three tasks at work.”
X – “She prestidigitates more than three tasks at work.”
SHORT words are stronger than long words.
✓ – “I have to end this.”
X – “I have to terminate this / I have to put an end to this.”
SAXON (Old English) words are more forceful than Latinistic (derived from Latin) words.
✓ – “He wars against negative thoughts running in his head.”
X – “He militates against negative thoughts running in his head.”
SPECIFIC words are stronger than general words.
✓ – “On my way here, I forgot to bring my high heels so I went to the mall to buy a new pair.”
X – “On my way here, I forgot to bring my shoes so I went to the mall to buy a new pair.”
CONNOTATIVE words (those that suggest more meaning than they say) have more power than ordinary words.
✓ – “She let herself be married to the Englishman.”
X – “She married the Englishman.”
EPITHETS (figuratively descriptive words) are more effective than direct names.
✓ – “Go tell that sly fox that he still owes me money.”
X – “Go tell that old fellow that he still owes me money.”
ONOMATOPOETIC words (those that convey a message by the sense of sound) are more powerful than ordinary words.
✓ – “The summer of last year was very hot so when we went to a resort, I immediately splashed into the swimming pool.”
X – “The summer of last year was very hot so when we went to a resort, I immediately jumped into the swimming pool.”
See? By using these words instead of their ordinary counterparts, you can make your talk more vibrant and impactful.
… and the more vibrant and impactful your speech or presentation is, the more you’ll sustain your audience’s attention!
Arrangement of words.
Taking the information you wish to present and arranging it in a logical order comes down to 2 things: Credibility and audience understanding.
You want your talk to be organized because it will not only add more credibility to you as a speaker but also make your message more enjoyable and easier to understand.
When the information in your speech or presentation flows smoothly, your audience will more likely pay attention to what you’re saying.
So… think about the message you want your listeners to walk away with. Then, plan and outline how you’ll break down your main idea into small chunks of information.
This will help ensure that your audience will understand your talk.
In some instances, you may remove any unnecessary modifiers or connectives in your speech or presentation.
You should also avoid using long or complex statements when you can simplify. This is because just like in writing, straightforward sentences pack more punch in public speaking than long-winded ones.
“Cut out every useless word, so as to give prominence to the really important ones.” – Dale Carnegie
Carnegie said in his book that you can attain force in your talk as long as you have the conviction, purpose, and proper wording that we discussed above.
Without these things, you cannot deliver an effective, impactful, and convincing message to your audience.
While you’re standing backstage and preparing for your talk, you’ve noticed people running back and forth in an alarmed manner.
Suddenly, one of the staff informs you that the venue is on fire due to a faulty electrical wire. He asks you if you could tell the audience to evacuate as soon as they can before the fire spreads.
How will you deliver the announcement?
If you tell your listeners in an uninterested manner, “It seems to me that this venue is on fire,” your announcement may just earn a laugh.
On the other hand, if you tell your audience, “This venue is on fire!” they’ll crush one another in a mad dash to get to the exits quickly.
Of course, these are two extreme reactions to the situation, and if you find yourself in the same situation, we don’t recommend you do either. We just used this example to show how your convictions and way of delivery helps convince your listeners about your message.
The key takeaway?
Use your authority, conviction, purpose, and choice of words to move your audience and compel them to listen to and welcome your important message.
This attitude may also help you earn an applause or standing ovation by the time you end your speech or presentation.
Apply these force-inducing tips as you prepare for your next public speaking engagement!
“If you honestly can, assert convictions as your conclusions. Deliver them with the iron hand and confidence of a Cromwell. Assert them with the fire of authority. Pronounce them as an ultimatum. If you cannot speak with conviction, be silent.” – Dale Carnegie
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Wednesdays: Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”
In a meeting with one person
…a boardroom with five people
…or a huge venue with hundreds of people
—whatever the situation or setting, it’s very important to learn and eventually master the art of public speaking.
No matter what, you always need to effectively get your message across.
What good is a presentation with awesome content if you don’t deliver it properly?
Every Wednesday, we publish different tips, insights, and secrets on how you can improve your presentation skills to captivate your audience and lead interesting discussions.
The need for great presentation skills applies EVERYWHERE.
(Small meetings with your team, big meetings with your boss, an important marketing pitch, speaking engagements for events with a big audience, etc.)
Learning these skills is not just for the corporate world. Being in other industries such as the Arts, Information Technology, Medicine, and Education while knowing how to present well will definitely give you an edge.
Have that advantage.
Hope you’ve found this week’s public speaking tip interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s Speak on the Shoulders of Giants!