How Spy Thriller Novels Can Help You Give a Better Speach

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Robert Ludlum was the master of the suspense novel.
His spy thrillers grabbed you by the throat, held you at a fever-pitch and did not let go until the last page.
If you want to be a better public speaker, workshop leader or seminar presenter, there is a valuable lesson to be learned from the suspense novel.
Every public speaker is looking for an edge that will make an audience sit forward, listen intently and applaud loudly.
Well here's a technique that will put you heads and shoulders above 90% of the other speakers out there.
All of us have endured speeches in which the speaker began with slow introductions and "housekeeping" matters like: "I want to thank all of you for coming...
" "I began my career 40 years ago as a..
" "Tonight I would like to talk to you about..
" "This is the first time I have ever been to Cleveland...
" All of these introductions are both boring and a waste of time.
Worse, they signal to the audience that nothing important is going to be said in this speech.
Instead, do what any good thriller novelist does, begin with drama and suspense that tells the reader to "hold on tight because there I've just gotten on a roller coaster.
"Here are a few ways to do this:
  1. Begin without a word.
    Stand silent at the podium for 30 seconds or more and engage eye contact with everyone in the audience.
    Pause long enough for every eye to be locked onto yours.
    A silent beginning gathers power and magnetizes the audience to you.
    Then when you do begin to speak, they will swear they were the most profound words they've ever heard.
  2. Begin with a story or anecdote.
    Tell about someone in danger or trouble.
    Tell about a problem that had to be solved.
  3. Better yet, withhold the name of the person you are telling about.
    Make them hang onto every word so they can find out who this story is about.
  4. Reveal a problem that faces our culture, our country or our planet.
    Or even better, a problem that faces each and every member of the audience.
    Let them feel the impending threat, personally.
In the first few ticks of the clock, the audience is evaluating whether and how much attention to give you.
Those are the moments their attention is at its highest.
If you blow the introduction, you can never get them back on board.
Hook your audience early and they can stay hooked all the way to the end of your speech.
Just like a novel they can't put down.
COPYRIGHT(C)2006, Charles Brown.
All rights reserved.
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