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by Dr. Dilip Abayasekara, Ph.D., A.S. 

Twelve Laws of Speaking Success

With more than twelve years of experience speaking to large and small groups of people, competing in speech contests, and coaching and evaluating speakers.  I have distilled in The Twelve Laws of Speaking Success the fundamental principles for reaching, touching and elevating your audience.

  1. The Attitude of a Student Leads You to Continuous Improvement

    The successful speaker never "arrives" at perfection.  He or she is always trying to improve, looking for new methods and techniques to enhance performance.

  2. Knowing Your Audience is the First Step to Meeting Their Needs

    Two strategies for learning about your audience are A pre-program questionnaire.  Ask questions about the expected size of the audience, ratio of men to women, their educational and cultural background, what they expect from you, and many more questions to help you focus on better serving the audience.  Pre-program questionnaires can be filled out by the meeting planner and mailed back to you or you may conduct a telephone interview with one or two of the key players.
    Literature Research
    This can be done in the library or on the Internet.  There are also services available that can research almost any subject, organization, corporation or institution.

  3. Be Audience Centered and You Will Create Understanding and Goodwill

    The successful speaker knows that in order to truly connect with the audience, he or she must truly care about the listeners.  The audience-centered speaker uses vocabulary, examples, facts, and stories to which members of the audience can relate.

  4. Know Your Message and Your Audience Will Listen to You

    The successful speaker knows what he's going to say, when he's going to say it and why he's saying it.  The presenter has done the research, organized the talk, and practiced.

  5. Believe in Your Message and Your Audience will Believe You

    This is a prerequisite to sincerity.  Belief in what you are saying allows you to become excited about what you are saying!

  6. Organize Your Message and Your Audience Will Understand You

    The successful speaker knows that even the greatest speech will have little effect on the audience unless it is organized in a manner that the audience can follow, understand and remember.

  7. Focus on Your Message and Your Audience will Stay Focused

    Focusing on your message (and your audience) prevents any distractions from interfering with your presentation.  Your focus on your message also prevents you from focusing on yourself which can cause nervousness.

  8. Be Yourself for Congruity is the Seat of Authenticity
    The successful speaker does not pretend to be someone else.  The speaker is a performer but not an actor.

  9. Guide Your Emotions for They Can Help You or Harm You
    The successful speaker controls his or her emotions to make sure that emotions enhance the message and do not detract from it.

  10. Show Your Emotions for They Can Help You
    The one quality of a speaker that makes most listeners forgive them for other deficiencies is enthusiasm for what they are talking about. If you are not passionate about your message then it is very unlikely your audience will become passionate about it.

  11. Illuminate Your Speech Through Life's Experiences
    All great speakers develop meaningful insights from life experiences and use these experiences to give their speech and help the audience relate to the speech and the speaker.

  12. Tap the Potential Energy of Your Audience and You Will Draw Them to You. 
    Effective speakers connect with the energy of their audience. This happens when the speaker asks questions and engages the audience in a spoken or unspoken dialogue. The speaker draws vivid mental images and entices the audience to become part of the drama of his or her narrative.

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