I’m currently a student in a program that’s pretty… out of the box. Corporate Communications at Seneca College isn’t always what you’d expect, especially when I find myself in the middle of Allan Gardens, shouting about sex.
Oh hey there, I see you’re awake now… now that I’m talking about the dirty. And you must be wondering why in the world I was shouting about intercourse in a public place. For those who have had the pleasure of participating in David Turnbull’s public speaking class, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
But for those of you who don’t, here’s the low-down. As part of CCM 715 – Advanced Presentation Skills, students present speeches in the most bizarre places throughout the city of Toronto, from the St. Lawrence Market to the GO Train. These exercises are meant to teach us how to think on our feet, and present in even the most difficult circumstances. I wanted to share the text of my speech with all of you. Unfortunately, the delivery is lost in this medium, as is the old man who gazed at me curiously partway through my performance. I hope you enjoy nonetheless.
How to arouse someone (with a speech)
I want everyone to think about the best speech they’ve ever heard. A speech that was so incredible it made you weep silent tears of joy, or made you want to scream from the rooftops. For me, Al Pacino’s speech in Any Given Sunday comes to mind. And I know that’s just the most cliched, but that speech meant a lot to my high school rowing team, so it is what is. But the reason I love that speech is that when I hear it, it evokes a strong emotion in me! I feel all excited and bubbly inside.
Now, I also want you to think of something else. I want you to think about… the best… sex… you’ve ever had. But I want you to think about why it was the best.
I’m going to tell you why. It’s because you were aroused.
You see great speeches are like great sex, and a great speaker like a great lover. The difference is a speaker arouses with words, while a lover arouses with… well, you know.
And you can arouse in many ways, we’re not just talking about sexual arousal here. In fact the word arousal simply refers to the state of being awake or reactive to a stimulus. So to arouse is to awaken within someone a feeling, perhaps inspiration, determination, love, or lust.
So like sex, a great speech needs great foreplay. You need to create interest, intrigue, or curiosity. You need to evoke an emotion that pulls someone in and hooks them, leaving them wanting more. You have to gently guide your listeners towards… your main point. You wouldn’t just run up to the stage and blurt out your conclusion, would you?
Now the thing about the state of arousal, is that it’s not really all that fun without a climax. I think we’d all agree that speeches have been made and broken by the climax. The lasting impression you leave is the most important, so be sure to finish with a strong, compelling climax.
So the next time you want to write an incredible speech, I want you to stop. And think. About sex.