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Leadership by Choice: Increasing Influence and Effectiveness through Self-Management by Eric Papp

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Chapter 2

Speaking with Influence

The Power of Speech

In 2004 at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts, John Kerry and John Edwards were running for president and vice president of the United States of America. Illinois US Senate candidate and keynote speaker, Barack Obama, gave an electrifying speech that not only put him on the map but put him in the minds of many Americans. In 2009 he became the US president.

During his inaugural address in January 1961, President John F. Kennedy said these famous words: “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” They inspired and influenced millions of people to take action. Powerful speakers influence people with their words, whether speaking one on one or to crowds numbering in the thousands.

The Audience and You

A speaker should apply certain universal points of speech, whether giving a keynote speech or talking to people in a meeting. These points are connect, hope, and inform.

The first point is to connect. As the speaker, you want to connect with your audience so that they feel like they understand you and almost know you. Whenever possible, get to know your audience before your speech begins. Also work on yourself, because the more authentic you are and the more you believe in your message, the easier it is to connect with your audience.

When I gave public seminars, I first met with everyone and called them by their name. By memorizing their names, the audience and I had already ...

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