One of the many public speaking resources that I consult regularly is an email newsletter from J. A. Gamache, an internationally acclaimed bilingual (French and English) speaker who finished 3rd in the 2001 Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking.
In a recent email, J. A. compiled a list of 25 ways in which to get our point across, whatever the objective of our speech or presentation. As speakers, we want our messages to be understood, credible and remembered. Finding creative ways in which to do so is key.
J. A. suggests that we first decide what our core message is. Then, we should brainstorm about all the ways that could be used to support that message. Finally, we should sort the items on the list and decide which ones to use. Here is his list:
- Historical fact
- Scientific research / statistic
- Joke / humour
- Story / tale
- Comparison / analogy / metaphor
- Personal anecdote
- Third party anecdote
- Third party testimonial
- Case study / role play (with another person)
- Object / prop
- Audiovisual support (e.g., picture / video / music / song)
- Repeating / recalling the message
- Playing devil’s advocate
- Plain statement / thought-provoking statement
- Catchy saying / slogan / recurring theme
- Hypothesis that you defend or attack
- Common objection and rebuttal
- Rhetorical question
- Method / tips / steps to follow
- Moving or miming
- Acronym (e.g., the SPA method: Seize it, Plan it and Act on it)
- Audience participation
- Call to action
J. A.’s list is certainly comprehensive and it might prompt you to think of other ways in which to get your message across. Of course, we would not likely use all of these ideas in a single speech or presentation (unless, for example, we were leading a multi-day workshop). And, not every idea will be appropriate for every audience or occasion.
Still, I like the list because it is a useful way to get us to think creatively about our speeches and presentations.