At a recent brainstorming session with a group of speakers from the National Speaker’s Association we created a list of desirable skills, needed skills for speakers.
Read: The Full List of Skills for a Professional Speaker from that session, but not the full list of skills needed. That might be much longer, or shorter deciding on groupings.
One of the skills on the list was – can evoke emotion.
Indeed, people remember more about what they felt than what they heard at most any given time.
“Boy, did he make me mad.”
“I can’t remember exactly what he said or how he put it, but I am madder than … ”
Many of us have heard a similar exchange.
Determining the emotions is something for others to disagree about.
But I will go with: anger, fear, joy, disgust, sadness, surprise, hate and love.
With that in mind, what does it take to get our listeners to feel one or more of these emotions?
How do we make our listeners angry? Or make them hate? Or sad, surprised and so on?
The answer lies in the speaker.
The speaker must first feel the emotion. His/her words must express the feeling they have pent up inside.
“I am so mad = angry, I could, just, just scream!”
That won’t do it.
M L King was angry in his “I Have A Dream” speech. And he never screamed.
Ask yourself if you can explain why you are sad or why something so disgusts you. If the answer is yes, try it. Then try to get someone to understand you.
One of the dumbest things speakers can say is, “I am so excited.” Or “I am so happy.” Or, “This really makes me sad.”
If you are experiencing such emotions, your mannerisms – open hands, clenched fist, your words – shaking, quickened cadence, whispering and so on will come naturally to you. And it will be different for each speaker, too! Don’t mimic others, do it your way.
Be emotional and your listeners will, too. Be stolid, cold, expressionless and expect a similar response.