Speak Ideas, not Words!
“Grasp the subject, the words will follow.”– Cato The Elder
You are attending an event with a dynamic speaker. He plays to the crowd. He knows exactly what he is going to say when he says it. His body movements, facial expressions, and varying voice volume and pitch are mesmerizing.
His personality comes out every second of his presentation. He knows he is getting through to the audience because he is a student of body language.
Finally, his presentation is finished. You have to catch your breath. It was indeed a transforming experience for you.
Sadly, this rarely happens.
Wouldn’t you like to be that speaker? You are in command of your audience. Your audience is hanging on your every word.
It is such an opportunity when you have the attention of an audience. You must make the most of it.
Earl Nightingale, radio/TV personality and author and narrator of The Strangest Secret, the first million-copy selling audio program, once said when you speak, “Speak ideas, not words.”
What did Earl Nightingale mean when he said to speak ideas and not words.
Speakers are like basketball players. They should be prepared for the speaking game, but not to the point where spontaneity is sacrificed.
Basketball game highlights are the moments when instinct and spontaneity take over. The player is faced with an unanticipated circumstance and just reacts. They are spontaneous. You don’t want to sacrifice spontaneity in your presentations.
So, be careful you do not prepare every last word of your presentation. You will be sacrificing your personality. Don’t forget. Your audience came to hear your thoughts, opinions, and recommendations on how they can improve their personal and professional lives.
In this article, we will take a journey exploring the three advantages of speaking ideas, not words.
Your Audience Will Get to Know Who You Are More
What is lost when you become too scripted in your delivery?
We have all been at the end of a phone when a computer-generated voice tells us to press one for “x,” press two for “y,” and press three for “z.” What is your reaction? You think the voice is dull. You become impatient. You may even hang up.
The same reaction occurs in audiences. If you memorize your presentation word for word, you will almost certainly bore your audience. Also, you will lose the most precious thing you can give to your presentation – yourself.
Your audience has come to hear you speak. They have not come to listen to you read your presentation or recite memorized words. They can read a book or listen to an audio program to do that. If there is one thing you don’t want to do in a presentation, it’s waste your audience’s time.
Memorize ideas and speak those ideas, not in a rehearsed way, but in a conversational way. As your audience is amazed, so will you be. Afterward, you may be asking yourself where did those words come from.
Another casualty of speaking words and not ideas is your credibility will take a hit. Your credibility is your stock in trade as a speaker. You are an influencer of people. If you are not influencing your audience, you are just a talking head. Speaking words and not ideas will decrease your credibility.
Hold nothing back about who you are. Because you take less energy being who you are, you will feel less tired at the end of your presentations. It’s true. As the old commercial says, “Try it. You’ll like it.”
When you speak your ideas, you get closer to the audience because you are authentic, which audiences love.
Another great benefit of speaking ideas and not words is your body language, and vocal variety will increase. This excites audiences.
Your Body Language and Vocal Variety Will Increase
Speaking your ideas is exciting to you and your audience. When you are excited, your body movement, facial expressions, and voice start to do exciting things – like moving around, increasing your facial expressions, increasing and decreasing your voice pitch and rate of speaking, all in sync with what you are saying. It is truly a marvel to watch.
The vast majority of communication is body language, including gestures, and vocal variety, including pauses. If you don’t take full advantage of these presentation tools, your communication will be lacking. Because of this, your audience will become distracted, tired, and bored.
When you are enthusiastic, your body movement is animated. Your voice pitch and rate will also follow what you intend in your presentation. They add positively to your communication with your audience.
So, when you speak ideas, not words, your audience will get to know you better, and your body language and vocal variety will increase.
Because of these two things, your audience engagement will go up. What speaker would not want that?
Your Audience Engagement Will Go Up
Speaking ideas, not words, increases audience engagement
Audience engagement is critical to a speaker.
Without it, the speaker might as well be talking to a wall.
With it, as they say, the world is your oyster or, at least, the speaking world is.
There is nothing like the feeling of an audience favorably reacting to you by applauding, laughing, and smiling. Your audience is telling you, “We accept you,” “We are grateful to you for talking to us,” and “Your presentation is very entertaining.”
Your increased body language and vocal variety will draw attention also. I will prove it to you.
Remember the high school teacher that would drone on about a subject you had no interest. Boring!
Do you also remember the teacher who was very excited about their subject and made it exciting for you? Maybe it was a subject in which you initially did not have an interest.
Your audience is not a group of robots. They are emotional beings, and their interest can be aroused. It’s your job as a speaker to determine how.
So, when you speak ideas, not words, your audience will get to know you better, your body language and vocal variety will increase, and, best of all, your audience engagement will significantly increase.
Some of you may be tempted to stay with the memorization crowd. However, I can guarantee that crowd will not excite their audience like you speaking ideas, not words.
People come to hear you speak, entertain them, and listen to your ideas.
Don’t disappoint them!
Call to Action
Speak ideas, not words, to get the audience to know who you are
Speak ideas, not words, to increase your body movement, gestures, and vocal variety
Speak ideas, not words, to increase your audience engagement significantly
“Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.”– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Frank DiBartolomeo is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and award-winning speaker, presentation and interview skills coach, and Professional Member of the National Speakers Association. He was awarded Toastmasters International’s highest individual award, Distinguished Toastmaster, in 2002 because of his outstanding work in public speaking and leadership.
Frank formed DiBartolomeo Consulting International (DCI), LLC (www.speakleadandsucceed.com) in 2007. The mission of DCI is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence their colleagues and other technical professionals through improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence. Frank can be reached at email@example.com and (703) 509-4424.
Don’t miss Frank DiBartolomeo’s latest book!
“Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations”