15 Ways to Begin Your Speech (Not the King’s)

Speechwriter Alan M. Perlman shares tips for every speechgiver in his book, Writing Great Speeches, Professional Techniques You Can Use.

Instead of starting a speech with a startling statistic or a dramatic quote, Perlman suggests using what he calls a “channel-opener,” which gets the audience used to your voice. The channel-opener includes thanking whoever invited the speaker and also recognizes the audience for their presence (perhaps they had challenging weather conditions to overcome). Then, Perlman suggests moving into the heart of your speech and offers fifteen strategies for doing so:

1. Summarize what is to follow
2. Explain your motivation for communicating
3. Talk about how you relate to the experience or the subject
4. State your purpose
5. Describe what’s new, interesting, useful or beneficial in what you’re about to communicate
6. Describe the background or context for what you’re about to say
7. State the overall plan of your speech (the way you’ve organized your subject matter)
8. Give examples of what you’re writing or talking about
9. Play off a current event or idea, either agreeing or disagreeing with it
10. Begin with a general – but related- subject and connect it to the audience and the speech topic
11. Talk about the audience – their beliefs, feelings, attitudes, situation, accomplishments, or challenges
12. Begin with a vision, which the audience will have a hand in realizing
13. Play off the title of the program, the theme of the conference, or the letter of invitation
14. Talk about the organization
15. Play off the date, day, month or year

Studies have shown that public speaking is one of the events people generally consider highly stressful. Perlman’s tips could take some of the edge off of that.

Fine Art with Dancing Hands

Enjoy this mysterious, expressive drawing by San Francisco artist, Yelena Lark. She has extended her creation by adding her own expressive hands moving to “Carmen Suite, Second Intermezzo.” By Rodion Shchedrin/Georges Bizet.

Update March 2012: this video is no longer available.

Can Tapping Your Temples Increase Your Creativity?

Sonya Sophia Illig was dressed in soft layers and had a fairy tale look about her with her flowy long locks. “Find the sore spot about an inch below your collar bone and and inch out and tap it gently. Take a deep breath,” she said, and thirty five people in unison heaved and released a loud AHHHHH.

That was part of an introduction to the Emotional Freedom Technique (“EFT”), which was developed by Gary Craig in the mid-1990s. It involves tapping along the meridians of the body as identified in acupuncture.

Some leaders in the personal development field speak positively of EFT include Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Joseph Mercola of the Optimal Wellness Center, coach and best selling author Cheryl Richardson, developmental biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton, and the co-creator of the enormously successful Chicken Soup for the Soul series, Jack Canfield.

Naysayers of the effectiveness of EFT claim that it may be auto-suggestion at work. Of note then, something is working.

Here’s a video Craig Brockie created that explains EFT in 5 minutes.

You can find out more at the World Tapping Summit that begins February 21st. To find out more about a film being made by Nick Ortner about EFT check it out at The Tapping Solution.

How Do You Accept Gifts/Food Chinese-Style?

When you are a guest in someone’s home in China, one thing to remember is never accept food or gifts without first refusing a few times. Wendy Abraham explains it well in Chapter 18, Ten Things Never to Do in China in her Chinese for Dummies book for learning Chinese:

“No self-respecting guests immediately accept whatever may be offered to them in someone’s home. No matter how much they may be eager to accept the food, drink, or gift, proper Chinese etiquette prevents them from doing anything that makes them appear greedy or eager to receive it, so be sure to politely refuse a couple of times.”

Have you seen this dance of the “no thank yous” first hand?