When you've been given the opportunity to hold an audience's attention for a speech - even if it's just 60-seconds - it's up to you to use every second to your advantage. That means, ENGAGING your audience. Failing to do this, will make you and your message as interesting as bad wallpaper in a cheap hotel bathroom. Get my drift?
One of the best ways to engage an audience during your speech (or even in a conversation) is to use metaphors, analogies and other "bright" or descriptive language. I love a good analogy or metaphor; metaphors are the fancy jam on dry toast…they’re like the dancing shimmer on a calm lake. (See what I did there, eh?!) Seriously, though, if you want your audience to pay attention and remember you long after your conversation or speech has ended, start using this kind of language.
In my years as a morning radio host, I learned a very cool technique for using bright language; we called it “Theatre of the Mind”. Essentially, it was a way of engaging listeners through the use of highly descriptive language and dramatic tone that made them want to listen longer
So, for example, we wouldn’t just say:
“Here’s a story that confuses me.”
We’d say: “Here’s a story that is turning my mind upside down right now!”
The second sentence is far more descriptive and creates a fuller mental image for the listener. It makes them much more interested in learning what could possibly have me in such a state. This technique is incredibly effective to use in every day conversation and speeches alike.
If you take a good listen, you’ll likely find that the people who seem to mesmerize us most are those who find unique ways to express ideas and details. You may look at a red vase and call it – well, a red vase. They, on the other hand, might call it a “crimson jar”. Instead of saying “It’s a beautiful day”, they might say, “This day is like a ball of sunshine – bright, warm and full of possibilities!”
Try doing a little of this in your everyday conversations. As your creative thinking expands, so will your ability to engage an audience.
What other way can I describe a simple object? (i.e. an office chair becomes a “throne on wheels”, a meeting becomes “the gathering of great minds”, a lunch break becomes “my 60-minute daily vacation”. I’m stretching with some of these, but the bigger and more creative the language, the more fun and interesting your dialogue or speech will become.)
How can I compare this experience to something else? (i.e. “These allergies are the bane of my existence”, instead of “These allergies are so bad.” Or, “That race was a mammoth undertaking”, instead of “That race was hard.”
Use super-descriptive and interesting language more often to engage your audience. You – and your message – will be remembered for it.