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5 SHARP Hooks of Effective Speaking

If you want to engage your audience into your speech, learn to apply five simple binding methods and help people remember your messages more efficiently.

Have you had an experience that you prepare well for your speech, but you could not engage with your audience, or your message did not stick with them?

I did. I guess we all have similar experiences over time.

What causes this issue?

The main problem is that most public speakers and managers lack knowledge of the topics they are talking about or spend a lot of time on what information to convey when preparing the speech. Still, they do not pay any attention explaining it properly while keeping the audience in mind.

We may explain this issue with an old saying, "The loose shoelace is doomed to break!"

What does it mean?

If you don't tie your shoes well, it will definitely dissolve and get around your feet. You cannot go far with loose shoelaces. You need to make sure that you need to secure your shoelaces tight enough to keep in place while keeping you comfortable.

How does it relate to public speaking?

While preparing for a speech, most speakers determine a single anchor/hook to catch people's attention. When they start speaking, they immediately get into the topic. They list the points related to the topic they are talking about.

So, what happens next?

The problem with this approach is that they only think about one hook for their speech and believe it will be enough to engage with the audience. The rest of the speech stays dull and uninterested for the audience, and much of what they say does not remain in the audience's mind.

What are they missing?

Imagine tying up your shoelaces; it is not one step work. You tighten the laces, hold in place while taking one side of lace around and secure, and then repeat the same process with other lace to neatly secure them.

Suppose you apply the same principle in public speaking. In that case, you cannot go out with one hook and hoping that it will be enough to keep people interested and engaged.

One of the critical rules of public speaking is that you should never give information alone. The information should be used together with a catchy hook. So, your message should be set in the form of a hook one point, then the next hook and another point.

Now you probably have a question on what is this "Anchor" or "Hook". Let me explain that these are instruments you can use to remind your audience of your purpose.

There are different types of hooks you can use in your conversation, and I will now try to show you with examples.

(1) Story (Anecdote, Analogy):

The story is the best way to open and close your speeches as it catches your audience's attention and keeps them engaged. When people remember your story, they remember your point.

Stories come in different shapes and forms, and most used ones are Anecdote and Analogy.

  1. Anecdote: The anecdote is a story with a point. It is a short account of an interesting or amusing incident, often intended to illustrate or support your main point. As an example, it might start such as, "If I could redo one choice in my life, I would choose not to … (a short story to give your audience a point)."

  2. Analogy: The analogy compares two things but in three different forms;

  • I- The Metaphor describes an action, object, people or things in a way that isn't literally true but helps explain an idea or make a comparison. As an example, "A movie is a roller coaster ride of emotions."

  • II- The analogy compares two completely different things to each other and points out the similarities between them. For example, "Listening to a scientific speech is like watching a foreign movie without the subtitles."

  • III- The Smile is comparing things by using words "like" or "as". As an example, "I am as hungry as a horse."

(2) Humour:

Do not mix Public Speaking humour with stand-up show or comics. Humour comes in different ways; it works as an ice breaker between a speaker and the audience. Please make sure that use humorous anecdotes rather than jokes; keep it clean and relevant to your point.

(3) Activity:

When people remember your activities, they also remember the point that depends on it.

If you have read my previous article, "Why Do We Lose Our Followers When We Compress Information?" There is an activity that I shared there and that I use very often in my training. In short, I ask participants to find a buddy and look at each other for a while face to face. Then they turn their backs on each other and change 12 things about their appearance. The participants find it difficult to change 12 things in their appearance.

On the other hand, when I re-group them and ask them to change one or two things on their appearance, it becomes more comfortable and enjoyable. They also realised that they change/find more than 12 things without any difficulty with small changes every time.

There are specific messages I provide, and participants learn as a result of this experiment.

When a participant reminded of the event, they will remember the whole message. Because both the experiment and the message embedded in their memory, and they will not easily forget.

(4) Reference (Quote):

You do not need to use quotations in every speech. However, you need to know why, how, and when to use references in your speeches. These are;

- Reference or Quotes reinforces your ideas. A quotation offers a second voice echoing your claims but is more potent than merely repeating yourself in different words.

- Quotations usually offer a concise, memorable phrasing of an idea which sticks to your audience's mind for a long time.

- Using a quotation boosts your credibility because it implies that the person/source you are quoting agrees with the rest of your argument.

- Quotations enable you to add variety to your logical arguments, along with facts, statistics, stories, metaphors, and other material. Audiences get bored if you offer a one-dimensional string of ideas of the same type.

Ensure that you use well-known, respected people/sources for your reference (but not a quote that everybody knows). Always pause before and after the quote, use your vocal variety to spice up and most importantly, do not overdo it.

(5) Prop:

Props are objects that the speaker uses to enhance the impact of a presentation or speech. The size of the prop is limited only by the size of the stage. Most props are small enough to be handled by the presenter, make sure that your audience could see it clearly to make it an impact you hope for.

The well-timed use of a well-chosen prop can make a big impression on the audience. Props can help a presentation in several ways, such as,

- Emotional impact

- Can be used as a useful metaphors

- Make your point more impactful

- Could inject humour into your speech

- Help you to grab your audience's attention and interest.

- Make your speech more memorable even after a long time.

Remember, loosely tied shoes will come loose and get tangled. If you want to engage your audience into your speech, learn to apply these binding methods and help people remember your messages more efficiently.

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