If you listen to some of the speeches shown on TV or during public events, you could think there was a competition going on. Speakers seem to outdo one another with their worn out phrases and powerless performance styles. Beginners often feel intimidated by this. They get anxious their own speeches might never reach the high level of boredom that seems to be required in business and politics these days. But don’t worry! With these five tips you too can sweep your listeners off their feet like a pack of Valium.
Tip Number 1: Pick a Dull Opener
What is true in everyday interactions also applies in public speaking: You won’t get a second chance to make a first impression. This is why you have to bore your listeners stiff right from the start.
Some of you may now think: Well, I would love to give my speech an uninteresting opener. But I don’t have boring ideas. No problem! If you want your speech to start as stale as possible, all you need to do is to ask yourself one simple question: What do your listeners find interesting? Of course, they like things that are new, surprising and funny. All this, your speech opener must do without.
Instead speak about something that your audience already knows, for example the occasion. Many of the great masters of boring rhetoric know this all too well. That is why so many speeches start something like this: “Welcome everybody to the 60thbirthday celebration of Mr. Winterbottom. I am glad that so many of you could join us here today.” This way, you start your speech with probably the only piece of information that everyone in your audience already has.
Tip Number 2: Think Simply, Speak Intricately
In order to make sure that your audience can make little or no sense of what you are saying, you shouldn’t waste too much time on preparing your speech. You better just blabber without putting any previous thought into your words.
Many famous speakers were able to achieve great success with this technique. But only few have reached such great heights as the former US president George W. Bush. His famous technique consists of the many little tricks – also known as Bushisms – that you can study and easily integrate into your own public speaking style, like the clueless stutter, the overuse of filler words like or the frequent repetition of extremely unimportant details. If you practice Bush’s public speaking tricks thoroughly enough, maybe one day your speeches will get millions of clicks on Youtube as well.
Tipp 3: Focus on a Stiff Body Language and a Monotonous Tone of Voice
Speakers who plan to bore their listeners until they faint, can not only rely on a boring speech content. At least half of the effect of a boring speech comes from an inexpressive presentation. Don’t waste this potential!
A great example for a boring body language is Angela Merkel. Only the German chancellor manages to deliver even the most important of speeches as if she was reading a vision-test at her eye doctor’s office. Of course, it takes a lot of practice to present speeches as lifeless and dull as Merkel does. But with a few simple tricks even beginners can make quick progress.
A monotonous tone of voice can easily be achieved by reading your speech off the manuscript word by word. While doing this, you should never look up and avoid eye contact with your audience at all cost. Also, you should cling to the lectern like a drowning man to a log of wood. This way you avoid emphasizing any important statements with accidental gestures. If you practice these simple techniques you have good chances to join the elite club of the world’s most boring speakers.
Tip Number 4: Overwhelm your Audience with Numbers
Boring speakers do not intend to inspire their audience. Their aim is to bore their listeners out of their minds until even the very last one of them lethargically stares out the window. The most efficient way to achieve this is to overuse numbers. Make sure that each number in your speech has at least two digits after the decimal point. Also, each number should be compared in the same sentence with an equally difficult number. The use of incomprehensible technical terms from the world of economics can also be very helpful. However, it is not important that your audience understands your calculations.
Just tell them about the such and such comma such and such million dollars that your company has earned before tax in the last quarter, and why that is namely a currency adjusted minus of such and such comma, such and such per-cent compared to the same quarter the year before, but that over a five-year horizon this means a pleasant increase of such and such comma, such and such per cent.
This will make even your most interested listeners pull out their cell phones and secretly check emails.
Tip Number 5: The Longer, the Duller
Sometimes, despite all your troubles, even the most boring speech will still contain one or two interesting points. The best way to stop your listeners from noticing them is to give a very long speech. This will make even fascinating pieces of information seep away like drops of water in the desert. Therefore, when it comes to the length of your speech, you should not be satisfied too easily. With a little effort, even the longest speech can be extended by a few sentences.
At this point you may say to yourself: How long is long enough? Well, that is easy to tell. The answer lies in the reactions of the people in front of you.
It is a good sign if your listeners are yawning, but at this point, you are nowhere near success. Even if people look at their watches with an annoyed expressions on their faces, you shouldn’t stop speaking. Only when they start shaking their wrists to see whether their watches are still working, may you relax and slowly come to the end.
Conclusion: With the right techniques, you, too, can bore your audience like the famous speakers from business and politics. If you practice them for a little while, you will soon bore any audience to tears. Look forward to rolling eyes and slow clapping. You deserve it.
Do you need support preparing your next speech? Do you want to learn the craft of speech writing? Send me an email or call me on the phone (0049 30 288 679 84). I have many years of experience working as a professional speech writer. I can provide a hand-tailored solution for any of your speech writing challenges.