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"Be a voice not an echo." - Albert Einstein

How to Make Your Speeches Exciting

The Genard Method - How to Make Your Speeches ExcitingWant to inspire audiences and get them to buy into your ideas? Here's a foolproof way to make your speeches exciting. 

Let's continue the topic of becoming a more memorable speaker that I previously discussed here, here, here, and here.

Among the things I said was, the moment you strop trying to be a memorable public speaker is the moment you're able to become one. I also discussed knowing clearly what you want to share, ways to turn your passion into a powerful speech, externalizing physically what's inside you (like actors do), and "just" having a conversation with your audience.

If you speak with this level of control, you'll connect with and inspire listeners! Learn more in my new booknow availableSpeak for Leadership


Dr. Gary Genard's book on leadership presence, Speak for Leadership.

Make Your Speeches Exciting and Rewarding

Now let’s go one step further—by making your speeches exciting.

First, let’s discuss an essential component of the learning experience for anyone listening to a speech. It’s really an amplifier in terms of how your speech is received (and how you are perceived). It’s dopamine.

Want to know more about how to connect with audiences? Download my Free resource, "Great Speaking? It's About Performance Over Content."

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter released in the brain when you experience a reward of some kind. If you discover something new and interesting, dopamine is released. Similarly, if you’re setting out on an adventure (as an exceptional speaker will get audience members to feel), again, dopamine is present. Thrill-seekers, gamblers, and those addicted to chemical substances crave this strong stimulus-and-reward response.

So do learners—provided that they perceive what they’re being taught as new and exciting. Those experiences then become “sticky” and therefore memorable. And conversely, where dopamine levels remain low, the experience is eminently forgettable. As neuroscientist Martha Burns tells us, “the more motivated and interested we are in an activity the more dopamine is released and the better we remember it.” She recommends the acronym NEAR to understand this response: New, Exciting, and Rewarding.6

Here's great news: you can learn how to develop this type of strong relationship with audiences! Learn how in my Free Guide, "6 Rules of Effective Public Speaking."

Now think about this in terms of public speaking. A major reason most presentations are forgettable is because the speaker plays it safe. He or she may think, “Presentations are always done this way in my industry, and so I’m going to go along.” Basically, these speakers are hoping to get through their talk with their skin intact. Doesn’t sound like a new, exciting or rewarding approach, does it?

Hey, Wanna Have Some Fun?

Of course, just as with financial investments, your tolerance for risk plays a part in terms of how far you as speaker are willing to go in terms of newness and creating excitement. But at least think about how you might do things differently!

For instance, do you know how to use PowerPoint effectively? Most presenters don't. Find out how in my Free cheat sheet, "5 Rules for Succeeding With PowerPoint."

If a slide deck is used in every presentation in your department, what would happen if you didn’t use one in yours? Or vice versa. Other questions to ask yourself: “What would my talk be like if it were shorter than the norm, or conversely, more comprehensive?” “Would some discussion between me and the audience be productive?” “What might happen if this became a team presentation rather than just me speaking?” “What if I invited an audience member on stage for a demonstration?”

Any of these approaches—or others you might come up with on your own—may seem like a new path forward to an audience. And that, as they say, is a good thing!

And of course, to make a presentation more exciting and rewarding, always base your approach as closely as possible on the needs of the group. Remember, your goal is always to help listeners be better off for having listened to you. The best way to be memorable isn’t to be considered a smooth talker. It is to improve your listeners’ lives in some small or big way.

And have fun! To see how being excited yourself can help make you compelling to watch, catch Hans Rosling or Benjamin Zander in their passionate TED talks.

6 Martha Burns, “Dopamine and Learning: What the Brain’s Reward Center Can Teach Educators,” Scientific Learning, September 18, 2012. dopamine-learning-what-brain%E2%80%99s-reward-center-can-teach-educators.

The above article is excerpted from my new book, Speak for Leadership. Click here or below to learn more and to get your copy!

The manual for speaking as a leader, Dr. Gary Genard's book Speak for Leadership.

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Gary Genard is an actor, author, and expert in public speaking training and overcoming speaking fear. His company, Boston-based The Genard Method offers live 1:1 Zoom executive coaching  and corporate group training worldwide. In 2021 for the eighth consecutive year, Gary has been ranked by Global Gurus as One of the World’s Top 30 Communication ProfessionalsHe is the author of the Amazon Best-Seller How to Give a Speech. His second book, Fearless Speakingwas named in 2019 as "One of the 100 Best Confidence Books of All Time." His handbook for presenting in videoconferences, Speaking Virtually offers strategies and tools for developing virtual presence in online meetings. Contact Gary here.  


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