“I hate him. Except for all the places where I love him half to death.” (Charlotte Stein)
Life is about contrast. Night and Day. Light and Dark. Up and Down.
Love and Hate.
Sometimes people ask, “Can you love someone that you are no longer involved with?” I say yes. You can have contrasting feelings about people. You can love someone that has done something bad to you. You can say you don't like an ex-spouse, express negative emotions about them, yet say “There is a part of them that I love.”
Love and Hate exist in everyone, and you can harness the power of these contrasting emotions when you speak. Use love and hate BEFORE you speak, as well as DURING. Here's how.
BEFORE you Speak
Most people run into blocks when trying to come up with speech ideas. They try to think of the passions in their lives. The stories that lifted them up and provided a lesson to share.
When you approach your search from a place of Love, you will come up with many ideas.
What did I love to do when I was younger?
What do I love to do now?
Who do I love in my life and why?
Answering those questions and the stories behind them can make for very powerful stories.
However, do not neglect the other side. What do you Hate? Passion, and therefore the potential for a great story, comes from that side as well.
What injustices do you Hate?
Is there something that happened to you or someone that did something that you Hated?
Is there a situation in the world, or even in your own city that you Hate?
Starting from the premise of situations that you hate, can provide just as much teaching value as can starting from Love.
Think about both Love & Hate, and your story ideas will flourish.
DURING your Speech
Many speakers tell their audiences to follow a message based on love. “If you do ________, you will love it, because (a bunch of great rewards) will flow to you.”
That's a good strategy. It reminds the audience that their lives will change if they follow your advice. It shows them the rainbow that can result by using your lessons.
But it shouldn't be the only information that you give them. To truly go deep into the heart of your audience, remind them of the Hate as well...
Make them Hate the results of NOT following your message.
Make them Hate the aspects of the “villain” you had to overcome in order to succeed in your
Make them Hate the possibility of inaction.
Tell your audience what happens to people when they fail to take action on your lesson.
Remind them of your own mistakes. Your frustration. Your regrets.
Remind them of what happens in the people that do not move forward with their lives. But
here's the thing – do it indirectly. Use statements such as “most people” or “the average
person”. When you point at people, without pointing directly at them, they are more likely to
accept your message without getting offended.
Simply reminding your audience of the contrast between Love and Hate before and during your speech, will make you a dramatically more effective speaker.
What do you Love? And Hate?
Kwesi Millington helps speakers, presenters and youth to connect with their audiences and master their messages using the power of storytelling in their speeches & presentations. He is a Certified Public Speaking Coach & Youth Mentor.