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Cell phones are dangerous…to public speakers

Posted by Chad O'Connor  February 19, 2013 11:00 AM

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Cell phones are really dangerous, and I’m not talking about texting and driving.

Cell phones are really dangerous to public speakers – for two entirely different reasons.

Reason #1: The cell phone is your competition. Whenever you’re giving a speech, you’re competing against the phone for people’s attention spans and – quite frankly – the phone usually wins with email, text and Twitter.

So when you craft your speech, what are you going to add that captures and keeps people’s attention? A personal story, a shocking statistic, or a bold statement can all help you compete against the phone and win.

Reason #2: The cell phone is watching you. More specifically, it’s probably recording your speech. These days, you have to assume that anything you say in a speech will be on YouTube by the time you finish talking. We certainly have examples of closed-door remarks being made public and causing a controversy. And as a result, you have to write a message that is catered to your target audience but keeps in mind all the other audiences who could hear your message out of context.

So when you craft your speech, keep in mind all the potential target audiences, and ask yourself this question:

If my speech goes viral, will it launch my career or will it kill my career?

Cell phones are dangerous – dangerous enough that we need to keep them in mind while we’re crafting our speech.

A great speech should have your audience looking at you, listening to you, and only at the end, hoping someone else recorded it so they can watch it again later.

Allison Shapira is the president of Global Public Speaking, a company dedicated to helping people give powerful and authentic speeches and presentations.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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