Public Speaking Course:
I Get So Emotional
In my public
speaking course you will learn how you can use emotion to get some real participation out of your audience.
You can make it happen if you tug on their heart strings a bit. This is where your ability
to tell a good story can really make you stand out.
Great storytellers like my friends Maggie Bedrosian and Thelma Wells
can take a simple set of
facts and describe really detailed pictures in the minds of their audience.
You don' t just have to tell the stories to get an emotional
response, you can also create an emotional response from your audience when you ask the
right questions. Asking questions not only involves the audience mentally, it can also stimulate many kinds of different emotions. Do you remember
when you were a child and you could barely get to sleep Christmas Eve because you just knew Santa was going to bring you that special
something? This question would stimulate fond feelings in most general
public Christian audiences. It would not, however, connect so well with
people who do not celebrate Christmas
Here are some questions you could ask your audience to get them
Do you remember doing something
really bad as a child?
What kind of punishment did your parents give
These questions would cause the audience to remember bad feelings.
Did you ever have a pet that died, or did you have a friend who had
a pet that died? This would undoubtedly elicit sad feelings. If you want
the audience to smile, ask them this, Can you remember the most embarrassing
moment of your life? You will find that most people will
laugh when thinking back to an embarrassment they felt was humiliating
at the time. One of the definitions of humor is tragedy separated by
space and time. So, tell stories and ask the right questions
to move the emotional state of your audience.
There are many emotions you can trigger in the audience just by
choosing the right words. Happiness, anger, sadness, nostalgia are just a few.
Knowing your purpose for a particular group helps you to pick which emotions you want to tap. When your purpose is known, choosing words to get the desired emotional
response is much easier.
Here's an example of a simple set of facts that a speaker might convey:
"There have been twelve accidents in the past year at the sharp
which is two miles north of Cherokee Lake on Route 965. Installation
guard rails, warning signs, and a flashing light will cost
approximately $45,000. Even though we have not balanced the budget this
year, I feel that we should appropriate money for this project. Thank
Here is a little different version that uses emotional appeal to get
the message across.
"On July 18th of this year John Cochran was found dead. The radio
his car was still playing when the paramedics got to his overturned
vehicle. John's neck was broken. It was snapped when his car flipped
over an embankment. No one here knows John Cochran because he did not
live here, but he died in our neighborhood. Most of you do know of the
really tight turn on Route 965 that has been the scene of twelve accidents
this year alone and has injured many friends as well as strangers. We
need money to put up guardrails, signs, and a flashing light. I know
money is tight, but I hope you see fit to find the funds to remedy this
situation before the unknown John Cochran becomes one of your loved
Can you see the difference in these two approaches? The first was simply
set of facts. Facts are important, but they rarely stimulate people
action. The action comes when emotions get attached to believable
facts. You can bet the second version of the above story would have a
better chance of securing that $45,000. Moving people to action is part
of using the skills from your public speaking
To create the emotional appeal in the second version of the story,
words and phrases were chosen that had emotional power. ... John
Cochran was found dead. The radio of his car was still playing ...
John's neck was broken. It was snapped ... His car flipped ... really
turn ... He died in our neighborhood. All these phrases were woven into
the original set of facts to weave
a tapestry of thought, to create the emotional response of horror about
this terribly dangerous turn.