Dec 28 Public Speaking: Use Vignettes to Add a Dash of Flavor
We often add intriguing taste to a salad by drizzling on
delicious vinaigrette. But you can do the same thing to your public
presentations by spicing them up with carefully chosen and flavorful vignettes. These days I am coaching
many top business professionals on the power of getting their messages across
when speaking on behalf of their firms or as entrepreneurs, and I find that
many individuals shy away from this great speaking tool. They just don’t
realize the magical power of a vignette. As a member of the National Speakers
Association I’ve been trained to incorporate compelling stories into my
speeches to really connect with the audience. While I am telling a short story
or anecdote it’s fun to watch the body language of those in the audience as
they wait with anticipation to find out how the story ends and how it relates
to my message of the day.
Here are a few speaking tips I want to share with you,
including information about vignettes:
Everyone should be out on the speaking circuit
today to stay visible and build relationships which will hopefully lead to
great business success. But many professionals haphazardly prepare their talks
without knowing the power behind their words or how to get their target
audience or tribe to connect with what they’re saying.
Next time you have to prepare a speech I
encourage you to consider incorporating a vignette into it, choosing one that
relates nicely to a key talking point or idea you want to get across to those
in the audience.
What’s a vignette? It’s simply a very short
story that you can tell to your audience in less than three minutes. While
telling your story, be sure to use vividly descriptive words to actually put
your audience into the story so each person can see it unfold in the mind’s
eye. But it needs to relate to or reinforce an important point you want to
make. Use a vignette, for example, to describe the benefits that clients derive
from working with you. When you can speak effectively and let others know the
results your clients get from you or your organization it’s a great marketing
It’s important to really practice your little
story so that you can tell it like a great storyteller. Use your voice like an
instrument. Be sure to work on the pace, volume, and inflection of the tone of
your voice so that your words command their attention.
This is a great way to get your audience to
connect with you – especially if you can find vignettes that represent a short
case history, a real client experience, or a personal incident that people can
relate to. Personal stories are quite effective because they help the audience
get to know you and your sense of humor and make you seem more human to them –
even if they are not at all familiar with you.
How we utilize the voice and communicate through speaking
engagements is an important part of our professional image. Every top leader
knows that effective communication is the key to influencing others to take
action on their message. I hope you’ll try this vignette technique during your
next speaking adventure.
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is a professional image consultant, certified personal brand strategist,
speaker, and author.
Illustra Image Consulting, works with high-achieving future leaders and large
businesses by enhancing their corporate and personal brand image to take their
businesses and careers to the next level.
Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS
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Sarah Hathorn, CEO of Hathorn Consulting Group, is the go-to-expert in working with leaders and companies to create successful corporate DNA. As an executive coach, consultant and speaker she collaborates globally with clients and brands such as Deloitte, McKesson, Kimberly-Clark, Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and other leading organizations.
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