The Three Ps of Public Speaking

As you open, so too you shall close

20190908_080734Whenever I hear the mighty roar of a Harley Davidson, the sound of that engine reminds me of the three Ps of Public Speaking – Presence, Poise, and Power. Now I must confess I am not a biker. I have never even ridden on a Harley; however, I have always admired the roar and gentle hum of a well-tuned Harley. I call that sound the Harley Roar. To me, it is the personification of Presence, Poise, and Power – The Three Ps of Public Speaking.

Making your presence felt in the first minute of your speech is critical. Before uttering your first word, a power-pause, you can amplify your presence. Some speakers often refer to that pause as the great equalizer. It works for men as well as women, speakers big or small, beginner or professional. Beguile your audience attention with a smile while you lock eyes with your audience in silence. Feel the energy in the room for a moment then begin your presentation. Start, not with pleasantries but with an invitation to take your audience on a ride; one they will never forget to remember. In your opening echo your speech title. Also, let your audience know where you are heading with a carefully crafted opening statement.

A power statement establishes the roadmap of your speech. Included in your roadmap should be a hint of what your audience will receive at the end. Your opening statement should leave a lingering effect on your audience. Your opener can be an ear-catching line, a personal anecdote, or an acronym that will help your audience follow you through the presentation. Pierce the silence of the room, with a bang, then rev like the Harley Roar. Prepare, practice, and polish your opening, then remove some of that polish, as you get comfortable your content.

Power can manifest itself in many different ways. It can be how you dress, how you speak, even in your moments of silence, you can project power. How you dress for the platform speaks volumes about you and your message. There are times to be casual and times to be formal. Think of the statement you are making as you choose your attire for each appearance. Make what you wear on the platform your an integral part of your branding.

As you develop, adopt a style that audiences will identify with you as a speaker. Make your points with power. Make them power points that you can recall in your summation. If you can embellish the point of your presentation with a quote, make that quote one that is relevant to your topic. Deliver it with poise and power or the reverence it deserves. A quotation carefully planted in the middle of your speech creates a subtle change of pace to your presentation.

Open to close. Everything in life comes full circle. I don’t want to sound biblical, however, as you open, so too you shall close. Signal to your audience that you are about to end with a salutation. Begin your closing by recalling your power statements, power points, your power quotes, and request your audience to take some action. Resist the urge to add new content. If you do, you run the risk of confusing your audience with a double ending. Stop speaking! Close your presentation with Presence, Poise, and Power; the three Ps of Public Speaking.

Author: HenryOMiller

Henry joined Toastmasters in 1997. He is presently a member of 4 Toastmasters clubs; two in Santa Cruz and two in San Jose. He is a DTM-4. Henry is an executive speech coach, humorist, and speechwriter. He is also a musician and a lyricist​ whose speechwriting approach is similar to his approach to songwriting.

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