Public speaking is an art and not a science, however, over the years, I have heard many coaches caution – Watch your “I To You Ration” – the number of times you use I vs you, especially when telling your personal stories.
While it is OK to deliver your personal stores in the first person, there comes a time when you should make a U-Turn, simply because if you don’t, history has shown you risk losing your audience. Even a personal speech should not be all about you, it should also be about you and you, your audience.
Much of what we share in our speeches is personal. Things we did, things we saw, things we felt. As a result, we all have a tendency to overuse the pronoun I, even when a better connection can be made with your audience if you were to Make a U-Turn. Turn some of those “I” moments into “you” moments to include your audience in the picture or scene you are developing. If you do, you will make a better connection with your audience.
An effective technique when considering a U-Turn is the use of dialogue or questions to engage your audience. Here is one example from one of my speeches:
- “Have you ever lost your glasses, when they were right here (in your hands) or perhaps it was your wallet! And as if that was not bad enough, you lost your mind and ask one of your kids – the smart one – did you see my wallet? Only to receive the answer that would make any saint a sinner – Where was the last place you left it. Daddy!!”……
Try turning some of your scenes into a silent conversation between you the speaker and you the audience. Make a U-Turn after I moments. That too can also be very effective. Don’t focus on ratios, focus on your art in the context of your speech. Observe the difference in the connection you are making with your audience as you continue to develop your art and the art of making better U-Turns.
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