The One Big Thing Missing From Most Speeches

By Robert Kennedy III
Missing light, plug-in bulb

I wasn’t sure what I should say. I’d been called upon suddenly and didn’t have time to prepare any words of consequence. There I was in front of an audience who was intently staring back, anticipating words of wisdom. And I had NO IDEA what to say.

But, I couldn’t keep the audience waiting. So, after a few moments, I took a deep breath and asked them to imagine something. I took them on a journey by simply asking them to imagine what their world would look like if…

I could see smiles. I could see relaxed faces and some even threw their heads back as if they had just begun to experience a cool breeze on a sunny day. They were taking it all in.

I went on to speak and share for 10 minutes with the group. After the event, a participant came up to me and said, “Oh my goodness, Robert. You really took me there!”

A bit puzzled, I smiled and calmly responded, “Where did you go? Tell me more about what you felt.”

She excitedly began to share how she created this picture in her mind when I told her to “imagine.” Then, she connected it to the area where she was struggling.

“But Robert, what really helped me get into my space was your voice. You had this passion and energy in your voice that just got me into my zone. Do you do this every time you speak?”

Her question took me back for a moment. Do I do this every time I speak? I wasn’t LOUD. But, she interpreted my delivery as passionate.

Let me ask you, my reader, do YOU do this when you speak?

Public speaking expert, Nick Morgan, refers to the offstage beat. This is when actors inhabit a character just before they go on stage. They consider every emotion they want to elicit from their audience as well as the emotions they want to feel themselves. Great actors do this while the average actors or speakers simply go up and deliver their lines.

The ability to speak with passion draws in your listeners and allows them to hear your authenticity. Sure, everyone has a message to share but passion and purpose will always trump information. Of course, once you have corraled attention with passion, you must share something of value. But, unless you grab attention early, it’s hard to get it later on.

Before you speak or lead a meeting, ask:

  1. Is this topic important for my audience?
  2. How do I want my audience to feel when I’m done?
  3. How do I feel about this topic right now?
  4. How do I want to feel?

Taking a moment to explore the emotions of your message will allow you to connect with the passion of the message and ultimately, connect with your audience.

If you want to have your audience hanging on your words, ignite your passion and your true story will shine through.


About The Author

My name is Robert Kennedy III. I’m a professional speaker and author. I speak and write mainly about leadership and communication. Connect with me on TwitterInstagramLinkedInFacebook.