Public Speaking: The Art of “Selling” Out

Too often, people approach their public speeches as if they were book reports. In lots of book reports, you simply describe something in which you generally have no stake. But to succeed in just about every conceivable professional setting, you need to not just describe your point, but SELL your point.

When you’re selling as opposed to describing, you’re…

1) Using facial expressions that show you’re personally connected to your cause.
2) Speaking loudly and with enthusiasm.
3) Using personal, commonplace adjectives like “great”, “really cool,” and “awesome,” not just typical (and stuffy) business-related terms like “robust” and “effective.”
4) Picturing your audience as people who need to know what you know.

Think of it as the difference between just describing the plot of a movie, and also convincing someone to see it with you.

While teaching some public-speaking students recently, I wrote the word SELL on a piece of paper and held it up while they were speaking. Time and time again, the difference in impact was profound. When they were describing their points, the delivery fell flat; when they were selling, the conveyance was compelling, arresting and robust awesome!

[Image: fin5bjh/Flickr]

About this Gun

Joel Schwartzberg

Joel Schwartzberg

won the U.S. National Championship in After-Dinner Speaking in 1990 and was ranked among the top ten overall public speakers in America. After coaching at U. Penn and Seton Hall, he was inducted into the National Forensic Association Hall of Fame in 2002. Joel has been teaching public speaking since 2006, while holding down executive digital positions with Nickelodeon, Time Inc., and PBS. A nationally-published personal essayist, Joel authored the award-winning essay collection The 40-Year-Old Version. Follow @joeljest.