I recently watched a brief video of a woman who was entering a public speaking content and was looking for feedback from other speakers. Her ‘performance’ looked rehearsed, static and flat, lacking in enthusiasm and passion. And, my remarks were just that.

What this woman failed to recognize is that great public speakers grab their audience with their opening remarks, inspire, educate, and/or motivate them throughout the delivery and leave their listeners with a closing that calls them to action in some form.

There are so many people in the business of public speaking today and competition is fierce. The chances are also good that your topic is covered by many, many people worldwide. So how do you keep their attention on you and not on their iPads?

A great speech or presentation captivates the audience with its opening remarks. Whether you ask a question, tell a joke (pertinent to your topic), quote a famous writer or speaker, or tell a brief story, your goal is to involve your listeners by stirring an emotion within them. It could be laughter, sympathy, empathy, fear, awe, excitement – the list goes on and on.

With a strong opening, the audience will be more than eager to hear your subtopics in the development to follow. With a weak opening, however, you stand less chance of keeping their attention because you never had it to begin with.

Your development is where you build on your message. Adding stories and anecdotes will help keep their captivation because you are again drawing on their emotion, their conscience, and/or their enjoyment. As important as your opening is, your development is the heart of your message. Inspire, motivate and move them with your words, your voice, your facial expression and your body language. Do not believe that your words alone can draw the response. In fact, words alone, with no means of expressive delivery, will either put them to sleep or have them answering their email.

When you close, keep it short. You can repeat your most salient points or tell a brief story which encapsulates your message. In most cases, your goal is to motivate your audience by agreeing with you, buying from you, or changing their lives in some fashion. Remember, throughout your entire delivery, their wish is to be enlightened. So captivate at the beginning, answer their needs with your development and call them to action in your closing.

Author's Bio: 

The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To get started improving your presentation skills, click Voice Training and Presentation Skills for Nancy's free ebook.