The power of the written word has both the advantage and disadvantage of tone. Yes, you can type in ALL CAPS to convey anger or use punctuation creatively to get your point across. But when it comes to verbal communication, whether it’s speaking to groups or having a one on one conversation, how you say it can drastically change how it’s heard.

Now there are a number of different aspects of communication that can be changed and tweaked to get a point across. For this series, we’ll just focus on some of the verbal only ones. We’ll start with what I call the “Three E’s of Effective Communicating.” They are:

  • Enthusiasm
  • Emphasis
  • Expression

We’ll begin with “Enthusiasm” as it’s an easy way to get your audience (whether it’s one or one thousand) interested in what you’re saying.

What is Enthusiasm?

If you want to get someone excited about what you’re talking about, be enthusiastic when you talk to them. Enthusiasm is contagious – you can’t help but get excited when you’re around others that are excited. Sporting events, political rallies and some religious services often have a powerful effect on people attending. They talk about “the energy in the room” and how the crowd was excited — this is what the power of enthusiasm is all about.

Energy is created by enthusiasm but many speakers don’t realize what enthusiasm is all about. Enthusiasm is a genuine interest in and passion about the topic you’re speaking about — and enthusiasm cannot be faked. Yes, you can speed up the way you talk and use all sorts of vocal variety that they teach in Toastmasters to seem excited. But if you don’t genuinely feel it, the audience can tell. Enthusiasm really needs to come from the heart to be effective.

Why is Enthusiasm important?

Usually, when you’re communicating with someone, there’s something you’re trying to accomplish. Whether it’s a conscious goal such as making a sale or unconscious goal such as trying to sound intelligent, there is some point that you’re trying to work toward. And that’s where enthusiasm comes in.

People are drawn towards people who are enthusiastic about what they’re speaking about. They are more interesting, more believable and more likable. The act of speaking with enthusiasm makes you come across as more confident about what you’re saying which also generates interest. Have you ever witnessed several instances where a person wasn’t initially interested in a topic but someone else’s enthusiasm got them interested? I’ve seen this happen more times than I can count and it’s a powerful way to get people excited about you, your business, your product or your idea.

How to speak more enthusiastically:

Again, the easiest way to speak with enthusiasm is to be genuinely interested in the topic you’re speaking on. The more passionate you are about your topic, the more naturally enthusiastic you’ll be. Of course, this is easy when you’re talking about something you enjoy such as a product or business idea that you truly believe in or a cause that you’re passionate about. But how about something boring such as a presentation for your job or a technical talk about your area of expertise?

In these cases, you need to become enthusiastic about what you’re going to be talking about and that can take some work. Let’s face it, if it were easy to get excited about things we do to pay the bills, everyone would love their jobs. But there are things that you can do such as:

  1. Find a way to get excited about your presentation. See it as a way to promote your abilities both within your job and as a presenter.
  2. Find an aspect about your topic that you are excited about and focus on that aspect.
  3. Focus on the benefits of the results of your presentation. If presenting positions you as a market leader in your area or helps you look as a strong candidate for a promotion, you might find yourself considerably more enthusiastic about your talk.
  4. Consider the benefits that your audience will get from your presentation. If you’re providing useful information to your audience that might save their time, money or even health, then you’ve found something to get excited about.

So if you want a quick and easy way to get more results from your presentation, speak more enthusiastically. You’ll notice that the audience is paying closer attention and you’ll find yourself to be a more successful speaker and presenter. Give it a try and go make things happen.

Public Speaking Success: It’s How You Say It – Part 1: Enthusiasm
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