Yes! I know, but try as I might I cannot find a way to link Xylophone with Public Speaking.

But ‘eXcitement’ – well that is another matter; without creating excitement in our audience we are going to miss that emotional connection which is so important in persuading our audience to our point of view.

Can you remember the last time that you listened to a speaker who did not create that sense of excitement in you? You probably found your thoughts wandering; you could have found yourself checking your watch in a desperate attempt to make the time go faster. In fact you were probably engrossed in a myriad of thoughts which had nothing to do with the subject or the speaker.

Now contrast that with the last time you heard a charismatic speaker. The difference is amazing, you would have been focused on the speaker with concentration and a genuine interest in what was being said. Excitement from the speaker immediately connects with us, and we catch it for ourselves from our speaker.

I suppose that it is self-explanatory; if the speaker shows that he has no interest, no excitement in his topic, then why should we bother to try to get enthused. It is obviously not a subject worth bothering about and we could be doing better things.

However if the speaker is energised, enthused and genuinely excited about their topic then we soon channel that excitement ourselves.

As a speaker ourselves, eXcitement is the reassignment of nervous energy as well – it is what we attribute that fluttering feeling in the stomach to, the slight breathlessness and all that … instead of filling our thoughts with expectations of fear, we charge our energy with the adrenaline which is a product of our excited anticipation. A much better topic for self-talk!

It also fulfills the second equation of the Principles of Communication that Trischel teaches – the balance between the intellectual and the emotional that convinces and persuades.

We indicate that we are excited to be here by our body language; our gestures and our vocal variety. Research has shown what we have instinctively known all along; people respond to emotion and justify that response by facts. If we engage our listener’s emotion with an air of excitement then we can justify that engagement with well researched information that backs it up. It is the perfect package.

So we need to practice – not just what we say, but equally importantly the way in which we intend to say it. Where does the argument need passion? Increase the tension by speaking slightly faster, with a raised pitch and increased volume – and watch the excitement rise.

Where does the topic justify strong, dramatic gestures? Then practice in front of a mirror until you get the gesture precisely right – make it sweeping and natural. And watch the excitement rise.

Equally importantly though, is to relax the excitement – to pace the emotional intensity by reversing the excitement with softer voice, quieter tone and more frequent use of pauses. This allows our audience to ‘catch their breath’ and can be equally effective in making a connection.

Inexperienced speakers will probably spend hours rehearsing their words, their ideas and their phrasing. But forget that it is equally important to rehearse the stage presence that makes that all important connection with your audience’s emotions.

So ‘X’ is for “eXcitement” and we need more of it.

Michele @ Trischel

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