How to 'Sensitize' Audience With Public Speaking

by Milton Masi Isanya

Speaking About Health Care, photo by Leonardini

Q. I need to make a speech touching on healthcare issues. These issues range from public awareness on preventive measures for HIV, Malaria and Typhoid.

A. Talking on sensitive issues is never easy. People need to be aware, but you want to neither minimize nor exaggerate the severity of the problems you are talking about. You need people to understand their severity, but don't want to use gimmicky stories nor contrived anecdotes. What's the solution?

There isn't any easy answer. What you actually end up saying will have a lot to do with your audience and yourself, their expectations and your personal experience. One tried and true way to 'sensitize' people, to motivate them to action, is a speech outline called Monroe's Motivationed Sequence. Based on psychology and general principles of good speaking, a speech based around Monroe's outline will move people to action.

Briefly, here is the outline:

I. Introduction/Attention: Get your audience engaged in what you are saying.

II. Need: Show that the problem is real. Statistics and examples are important. Help your audience understand that they will need to do something.

III. Satisfaction/Resolution: Explain the solution to the problem.

IV. Visualization: The true 'persuasive' part of the speech. Help your audience see what the world will be like with the solution implemented. Visualization can be positive, a better world with the implemented solution, and/or negative, where you can illustrate what happens if your solution is not put in place.

V. Action. Invite the audience to become personally involved in solving the problem. Give them something to do within the next 48 hours.

Use this outline to write a moving speech that will actually make a difference. For more information, see Monroe's Motivated Sequence.

Happy speaking.

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