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The One Criteria for Building Your Signature Speech

[caption id="attachment_7255" align="alignleft" width="180" caption="Do Your Own Thing by Pie4Dan, Creative Commons"]Do Your Own Thing by Pie4Dan, Creative Commons[/caption]

Two events recently made me reflect on an audience and the impact of public speaking.

One was hearing a keynote address by tech entrepreneur and champion of Twitter Laura Fitton. The other was reading a quote from Gel Conference creator Mark Hurst.

Laura gave the opening keynote address at last year's Blogworld Expo. She offered plenty of knowledge on Twitter applications and entrepreneurship. But that didn't drive her speech.

What did: Her passion for how an online social network made her and many others more connected - and in the end, the world is becoming a less isolated place in her view. It compelled me to look at social networks in a different way. Her story of authentic enthusiasm came across like a unique 'signature of attitude.' And then in Seth Godin's fantastic ebook of insights by thought leaders in business, digital tech, and more - Mark Hurst said:

"People at events are hungry for authenticity. [As a speaker] ...you have to build the talk around your passion."

Sure it's critical to know the specific audience before you as a speaker - the time requirements, good speech mechanics, stage tech, etc. The goal is not to give generic presentations to every audience. But what Mark conveyed (and what Laura demonstrated) is this:

It's worth recognizing clearly what exhilarates us as business owners and relate to the audience through that attitude.

Three questions that helped me articulate driving passion in speeches for greater audience impact:

  1. What is your driving motivator?
  2. How can that motivation be described in a story (and then become your signature story that conveys what you believe in most?)?
  3. How can that story relate to what your specific audience requires? An example comes to mind from a professional photographer who described her workshops recently.

She said: "There's a lot of technical instruction involved in my workshops. But what I really help my audience understand is how to give the world an archive of beauty!"

That's her driving passion and I couldn't wait to help fill her workshop with attendees. What do you think? What does the passion in your signature speech look like?

Jill Foster, SCORE Guest Blogger
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