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Chapter 7: Fault #4: Not Enough Support for Your Ideas, Concepts, and Information

Overview

"I'm glad I attended your lecture on insomnia, doctor."

"Good. Did you find it interesting?"

"Not especially, but it did cure me of my insomnia!"

—Old joke from a humor anthology

The job of a speaker is to romance information. Emily Dickinson once said, describing another writer of her day, "She has the facts, but not the phosphorescence." That phosphorescence, that inner light that shines through a powerful presenter onto his or her listeners, only comes when you appeal to an audience's emotions—not just its intellect. Any speaker would like his or her speech to be described as interesting, memorable, powerful, and never boring. And the surest route to that kind of speaking success is using support—examples, anecdotes, and other devices—throughout your talk. Without support for your facts, audiences lose involvement in what you are saying. Many speakers work to make their introduction and conclusions memorable but neglect doing the same for the body of the speech. That's understandable: It's hard to sustain an audience's involvement as you make every point. Although it may be hard, it's also essential for powerful talks. Using examples to make your talk lively is the best way to maintain that involvement. Examples with vivid language, colorful stories, and famous sources wake up the audience and earn its attention.


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