Anthony Shivakumar
08 Sep 2016

Speaking Tactics

Today, Alex Hofrom delivered a powerfuland deep message on living an authentic life. During this presentation Alextook the audience on a journey wherein he shared his pains and challenges thatheld him back over the years. Alex captivated the audience describing his pathto overcoming his challenges, leaving the audience inspired and touched by hisemotions.

So how did Alex connect with hisaudience in such a profound manner? 

Is there a secret sauce or is there aprecise methodology to his art?

 THE FOCUS: The secret?There is no secret. Alex focused on finding different ways to engage with theaudience to get them to tune into every word he uttered. After careful analysisof Alex’s presentation, three effectivemethods came to light to engage and magnetize the audiences.


Great presentationshave a solid structure, starting with a rock solid introduction. The primarypurpose of any introduction is to ‘hook’ and engage the audience. Often introductionsare looked upon as a means to introduce atopic; however their true intention isto connect and engage with the audience so that the audience feels that the keymessage is relevant to their life.

 THE HOOK: Alex’sintroduction kicks off with a powerful ‘hook’ that intrigued the audience. His‘hook’ was, “All of you have been deceived… by me.” The intriguing introductionputs a plausibility of “what does he meanby we have been deceived?”. In fact, it forces the audience to focus andwait for the answer. Once the audience was hooked, Alex started tosystematically unfold why they were deceived. This drew the audience intoAlex’s world allowing them to mentally experience and be a part of hisemotions, creating a high level of focus. There are many creative andingenunitive methods to hook audiences into your presentation which include askingquestions or incorporating humor that get audiences to live your experience.All of these methods are effective as long as your content is relatable to theaudience.


Another effective method to draw an audience’sattention is to lower one’s voice. Alex did this in his speech when narratinghis disturbing childhood experience. In doing so, the audience was drawn intohis sad emotional state.

 When the speaker lowers his or her voice,audiences become attentive and focused on the message. It is natural for peopleto tune in when someone lowers their voice, because they want to hear what thespeaker is saying. It’s also a signal to the audience that the speaker is statingsomething important. Lowering your voice is an effective technique which needsto be used appropriately.

 For example, if you suddenly droppedyour voice and didn’t progress into lowering your voice, your audience will ‘tuneout’. It similar to playing music, notes have to be in harmony. ‘Setting up theaudience up’ refers to leading your audience to a point, wherein you will statesomething important. This was well illustrated in Alex’s presentation, when heinformed the audience that he was about to share a story about his aunties anduncles caused pain in his life. Upon sharing the story, Alex slowly lowered hisvoice, to gradually draw the audience into his message and into his life.

3. Emotions &Logic: 

Finally, a powerful message is not only logical, but it is emotional. LeonardNimoy (SPOCK from Star Trek) would be extremely disturbed by this, but it’strue. My apologies to the Vulcan Community.

EMOTIONAL STORIES: Emotionalstories aren’t always easy to deliver, because they require the speaker torecreate and express real feelings and emotions in a controlled manner and needto appear to be authentic for the audience to feel the true effective of thespeakers’ emotional journey. If it is contrived or forced, the audience sensesthis and will feel disconnected to the speaker. Secondly, emotions need to becontrolled, because if a speaker has an emotional melt down or behaveserratically, the speech becomes unprofessional. There is a fine line when itcomes to being emotional; most people stay away from emotion speeches to avoiduncontrollable situations.

THE CHALLENGE: The challenge withbeing emotional. When emotions increase, your logic decreases. Often speakers emphasize on the logical elements of a speech and minimize the emotional elementsin a speech. This is appropriate as long as the speaker constantly incorporateshumor to alleviate the tension build up.

THE KEY: The key tobecoming an effective speaker is to find the appropriate balance between emotionand logic. Effective messages need to incorporate emotional content because inreality people make emotional decisions and then they rationalize why they madethose decisions. Hence, incorporate emotions into messaging resonates well withaudiences sparking their emotional behavior and motivates them to makeemotional decisions.

POWERFULPRESENTATIONS:Delivering powerful presentations takes practice, practice and more practice!Taking the time to practice effective techniques will enhance your presentationskills. To learn more visit to take yourpublic speaking to the next level.

Written by Alex Ho, Edited by Thad 



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