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Enthusiasm: A Speaker’s Most Fundamental Ingredient

October 17, 2012

Sometimes it’s easy to think that the things that really make a speech or a presentation successful are the preparation we put in, the finer points of our speech technique. In reality, it’s much more fundamental than that, it’s all about enthusiasm.

I was at a conference recently with my pal Cosmos. It was a meeting of the great and the good of our field, and Cosmos and me, and we’d all gathered from across the globe to talk about some important issues in our industry.

The conference started with an afternoon of presentations. Some of these efforts were absolutely dire, and when it finally got to the point where it was time for a break, Cosmos and I burst into the break-out area and savaged the collection of free biscuits. At that point, Cosmos turns to me and admits, that he too will be giving a presentation, he’s not feeling confident about it and he thinks the presentation he’s going to give is going to be really boring. “You can’t think like that” I cry, “You have to think that your speech is the most fascinating presentation of the day. You have to lace it with enthusiasm”.

Sure enough, Cosmos bounces on to the stage and dazzles his audience. He speaks with passion and energy that the other speakers just couldn’t match, and delivers the most enthusiastic speech about gas pipeline regulation that I’ve ever heard. Our friends and colleagues were duly impressed.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget the fundamentals when speaking, to get overly focussed on issues around the periphery of our performance. But when we’re speaking and wanting to convince others, we have to come across as though we are interested in what we are talking about. Ultimately, that means the most important ingredient we need is enthusiasm.

George

President 2012-13

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