April 8, 2012

A Preamble Weakens Your Speech

by Promod Sharma, President 2011-2012

Building rapport with your audience is essential, but how? One common way is to thank the introducer and make irrelevant comments. Telling a joke falls into this category. Common doesn't mean optimal.

The Big Stage
There's another way: Get into your talk. At big events, you may notice the speaker enters from the side of the stage away from the introducer. While the audience claps, the speaker gets into position. After a pause, the speaker starts. This gives the speaker maximum impact and control. 

Contrast that with thanking everyone and giving a preamble about what you're going to talk about or other miscellaneous thoughts. You're building rapport but you're not building anticipation. 

Concerts start with the music. There's time for the "How are you all doin'? It's great to be back in (fill in the blank)." later in the performance. 

Movies and stories don't start with a roadmap. They grab you at the start and draw you in. Your speech can too.

Your audience may be interested in the backstory to your speech. Where did you get the idea? How did you go about preparing? What mishaps did you encounter? What did you take out? What else do you want the audience to know?

In a movie, there’s the Director's Commentary. In a book, there are footnotes. For a speech, there's a blog. 

A blog gives you unlimited space to augment what you did on stage. You can post a video recording and add your commentary. I've done this. For example, here is a behind-the-scenes look and a backstory. What do you think?

When you remove the preamble, you maximize the impact of your performance and enhance your digital tapestry. For some, your backstory may prove to be more interesting and lasting than your actual speech. 

Promod ("pro-MODE") Sharma blogs about marketing and risk.

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