Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Straying from the 'standard' in speaking

I've started a "Talk to me Tuesdays" feature on The Eloquent Woman on Facebook, so fans can pose a question. Last week, Chiara Ojeda wrote:
Hello! I have a question from the public speaking teacher's perspective: do you find practice in forms of speech like Pecha Kucha to be effective for students entering the business world? In other words, is it worthwhile to stray from the standard operating practices of public speaking courses and expose them to alternate forms like Pecha Kucha?
My answer: Absolutely!  Pecha Kucha, like Ignite and similar events, forces speakers to speak briefly, with time and slide limits, which pushes them to focus their remarks and practice, and makes delivery brisk and lively, in most cases.  Keep in mind what these events' organizers know: Most audiences don't want a formal, long, traditional speech or lecture.  The brevity and focus mean these opportunities are especially useful for speakers in business settings.  And you can get a taste of this form all over the world, as this is Global Ignite Week.  Follow the link to learn more and find an event new you.  Even if you can't participate this time, you may want to add similar limits to your own practice.

There's  yet another reason to "stray from the standard operating practices of public speaking courses."  Audiences are changing, and have been for some time.  In part prompted by the online revolution of social networking and even the participatory nature of reality TV, we're living in a world where the audience wants to join in the action.  For speakers, that may mean moving questions-and-answers to the start of a talk, or throughout it; incorporating Twitter breaks and other ways for the audience to participate in votes, polls or other actions while you speak; and even finding ways to reach the audience outside the room, listening in virtually.  The good news: You can employ a range of speaking styles and skills, and learn to use them to engage your audience more than ever before.

Related posts:  Engage your audience with new and social media

From the don't get caught blog: What speakers can learn from Twitter hecklers

Pushing yourself onstage: Ignite!

Learn storytelling online, 3 ways, from the TED, Ignite and Moth events

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