Go Local to Pave Your Way to a Home Run Speech

Today’s post is about why finding ways to ‘go local’ in your presentations or talks can help you to achieve as much (and oftentimes more) connection and impact as you can via seemingly more sophisticated content – paving your way to a home run speech.

At the recent, first European Professional Speaking Associations Unconvention in Antwerp, Belgium there was much talk about trends in the speaking industry, including:

  • A shift away from 45 minute or longer keynote speeches and a rising preference for shorter TEDx like talks
  • A stability or even growth in demand for professional speakers with deeply specialised and tightly defined niche expertise compared with a marked fall off in paid speaking opportunities for speakers who address general or broad topics (where event organisers increasingly seek speakers who will happily speak for free)
  • The rise in demand for virtual speaking – which requires speakers to hone new skills to speak with confidence and energy to audiences through a lens, without the benefit of feeding off energy you get from having a live audience directly in front of you
  • The need for greater focus on video-based content –as video further cements its kingpin spot as by far the most widely consumed content on the Internet

And while all of these are absolutely unfolding, there was something else – which tied into my talk on what it takes to create winning speeches when speaking to audiences who speak languages or come from cultures that differ from yours – and it’s this:

A Secret to Winning Greater Attention From Distracted Audiences

As the price of attention rises in the face of incessant and growing information overload, your ability to quickly win emotional connection with an audience has never been more important.

In fact, I’ll go further – if you fail to win audience attention and interest ‘from the off’ in any talk you give, there’s a good chance you won’t achieve it all!

Talk about pressure, right?

But here’s the good news. Winning attention early doesn’t require you to be brilliant or to achieve speaking perfection in a matter of seconds.

Why Speakers Who Get Personal Win More Hearts and Minds

Instead, you’ll commonly get off to a faster start if can find a way to connect the ideas you’ll speak about to something your audience enjoys and finds familiar. Here’s why:

It’s a personal touch – which, if meaningful, shows your audience you’re really attentive to, and care about, where they are coming from.

And that’s powerful and heart-warming for any audience.

Plus, there’s more good news. If your local connection can be wrapped up in a story (a very simple one is fine) that’s based on a local (past or present) experience or conversation that reflects well on your audience and has a point…

…Watch what happens to your audience connection. You’ll likely see smiles and nodding heads looking back to you.


And that’s because positive homespun imagery (check out my photo from a recent, really down home and small St Patrick’s Day parade in a tiny town in Donegal – where these kids smiled through wind and rain, wrapped in bin liners, to win great applause from an appreciative local audience) is a ‘crowd pleaser’…

…In the same vein that most folks love to look at happy family snaps. Of course they do; it’s warm and emotively special.

If you’d like to learn how to tell a better story for you or your business, contact me at eobrien@thersc.ie. I’ll be delighted to help you.



About Eamonn O'Brien

Public speaking master, Eamonn O'Brien is the founder of The Reluctant Speakers Club.