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Speaking with passion: let it ZIP!

July 5, 2014

passion violinIn my blog post of 21st August 2013, I revealed what I believe to be the three ultimate secrets of public speaking.  They were 1) structure the speech with an opening, body and conclusion, 2) look the audience right in the eye and 3) speak with passion.

The latter was agreed by a Corinthian audience to be the most important, so here are three tips on how to do just that.  They are easily remembered through the acronym: Z-I-P, zip!

Let’s start with the last tip: P is for personal.  Whether your speech is about you, or an issue you feel passionate about, bring plenty of you into the speech.  The more of you in it, the more emotional and resonant it will be.  There can be no doubt that the most memorable speech in this club over the last year was Margaret’s haunting speech about the Nazi occupation of Poland.  But it was not just the horrors of the story that touched us, but the way Margaret personalized it, by telling us that this awful story was the first time her father had ever spoken to her about the war.  And the last.

The next tip is the I – for inspirational.  The more you try and inspire the audience in some way, the more likely you are to inject passion into your delivery.  Think back on Keiran’s speech the other day about how proud he was to be in the police force, to work amongst people who put their bodies on the line on a daily basis for the security of each and every one of us citizens.  It made me think about if only I could be as passionate about my own profession of management consulting.  It could have been worse, I suppose.  I once tried to be a politician.  The electorate knew better.

And finally, the third tip: the Z.  Yes, you guessed, it is the word zip itself.  If you want to speak with passion, inject some zip into your speech, some oomph, some pizzazz!  Whatever your normal speaking style, accentuate, exaggerate the oomph – double, treble, quintuple it!   Think back to Nela’s wonderful tale about falling off a bicycle and not making it to her rural Czech rave.  It was full of props and action, with her helmet, her pedaling and her breathlessness.  It was full of oomph!

In summary, if you want to speak with passion, make it P for personal, I for inspirational and Z for zippy.  In short, let it ziiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip!


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