Rules of Engagement


Donal Cronin of Carr Communications wrote a really nice piece in the Aer Lingus inflight magazine this month about effective speech making. And yes guess who he spoke about..President Obama. But he is right too, Obama is a phenomenal orator.

As I read the piece I thought that it would be good to share. A lot of us would make speeches so it would be useful, but I felt the points had broader relevance to what we do and could be applied in many aspects of our work. So here are the rules (with my editing):

  1. When You’re on You’re on: Get straight into it…dont dance around the topic. Straight to topic, no preamble. Be instantly gripping
  2. Talk to One Person: Talk to You singular not You the many
  3. Use the Rule of Three: Things that come in threes have a satisfying rhythm.  So group your points in threes.
  4. You are Allowed to be Human: Dont become a robot. Be human and you will connect (remember when Obama spoke to his daughters…every parent related to that)
  5. Talk the way you normally talk: this is my pet peeve with non-profits. We talk in our language. Cronin says speak the way you would speak with friends. You don’t use words like infrastructure or paradigm shift! It’s known as 1st degree language.
  6. Paint a Picture, Tell a Story: People relate easily and emotionally to stories, examples, anecdotes. More importantly people remember them. Our brains are hard wired for stories, we have passed stories on from genereation to generation.
  7. Finally: PowerPoint (and ok yes this can only apply to presentations)….do you need it? Do you think President Obama’s speeches would have been more memorable if someone had given him some nice slides!

One thought on “Rules of Engagement

  1. Pingback: Rules of Engagement Conors Fundraising Blog | Happier Pets

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