With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s a great time to recall the most heart-filled speeches we’ve experienced in our lives. These speeches can be, quite literally, the pivotal moments that change our future. In fact, almost every important moment in life begins with a speech or a passionate verbal interaction.

Valentine’s Day is a wonderful time to brush up on the language of love, whether you are a public speaker in training, a veteran, or just hoping to communicate authentically.

There’s a reason a word from a loved one means more than from a stranger. We can always tap into that tacit connection all humans have.

Whether you’re trying to pitch your skills, a new product or service, close a deal, practice in a public speaking training, land a contract, or even propose marriage to the love of your life…your words and your message matters!

The more passionate you are about the message of your presentation, the more pressure you may feel to convey that message with confidence and clarity. We all put tremendous weight on ourselves to ensure that a message resonates, connects, ignites, and even inspires our audience.

Instead of letting the emotions choke you up, why not let the words flow?

Use all of the love in the air as motivation to speak from the heart. A genuine love story tugs on everyone’s heartstrings and leads them on an unforgettable journey, so make your speech a love story and bring your audience on an unforgettable ride.

Here are some simple tips from our public speaking training to help you embrace passion in your next presentation:

The Heart of The Matter

Get to the heart of the matter. Stating your most crucial point at the beginning of your speech will command the attention of your audience up front. You can introduce it with a clever hook, then support it by explaining why.

Beating around the bush and completely missing the point is frustrating and confusing for an audience. Often times, speakers NEVER get to the point because they run out of time by waiting until the end or digressing completely off topic. Wandering off course can take you into what I like to call “Uncanny Valley,” where the speaker suddenly loses not only the point, but also all traces of personality while staring at a strange space in the back of the room. It may sound crazy, but you’d be surprised how often I’ve witnessed this very thing! It was so uncanny and frequent that I actually named it.

Ah, now I digress…

The best way to avoid meandering from your point is to practice your speech out loud several times. When speakers seem to be “winging it” with eloquence, I assure you – they have practiced backwards and forwards, inside and out, whispering their main points in their sleep. The more intimate you are with the information you are sharing – and exactly how you want to share it – the more natural you will seem as you present it.

Change of Heart

Persuade your audience to have a change of heart. If you want others to take action on your ideas, then your talk must teach or share new knowledge, motivate, inspire, or persuade. This is how to create a change in thought or behavior.

You have one opportunity to take the audience by the hand and lead them on a trip from what they thought at the beginning of your talk to what they will think at the end. And you are the one creating the roadmap.

Make sure your listeners know why they should fall head-over-heels for what you have to say.

Why should your audience care about your topic? You can start by explaining what it can mean to them.

How are you going to encourage the audience to think or act differently after your talk is over? And why do you want them to?

Love Your Message

But it isn’t enough to have a roadmap if you don’t have a car. This is when you put your plan into practice by gathering together your dry facts and figures to form a story. What is your data trying to tell you?

“Maybe,” Brené Brown says in her TED Talk on vulnerability, “stories are just data with a soul.”

Your story is the vehicle that gets your raw data–and your audience–to move through the journey you have crafted for them. Constructing a story involves creating a beginning, middle and end – and don’t forget to include a vibrant cast of characters.

Need a story? You can find a meaningful tale to share by identifying common ground. How does your work connect to the world at large? How has your message already begun to change the world?

Spend time on making sure your story comes straight from the heart. Your audience will respond best to authenticity.

Get swept off your feet by your story and never lose heart! Believing in yourself and your message can be the most effective tool you have to create change. Passion and enthusiasm are contagious. An audience will mirror that same energy when they see you presenting it.

Inject Passion

Now you have a plan and a vehicle–what’s the missing ingredient? Fuel. Ignite your audience with the passion you feel for your topic. Find what’s in your presentation that excites you and transfer that excitement.

Surely, sometimes you’re just giving a presentation on something mundane or protocol for your industry. It may seem difficult to find anything that gets your motor going. But this is where proficient speakers separate from the throng and show off their public speaking training with panache.

Angela Lee Duckworth’s TED Talk discusses the power of passion and perseverance. The truly gifted public speakers will view themselves as a vessel for their message. Their passion comes from the knowledge that their message is valuable and necessary.

What if you allowed your passion to flow, emotion catching in your throat as you unabashedly share your truth and your heart, your stories, your perspective?

As intimidating as it may sound, this is exactly the kind of moment that can connect you immediately with your audience. Allowing them a secret glimpse into what moves you – especially if you share a story – grants immediate empathy from the group, making your speech more memorable and a change in thinking more possible.

Enthusiastic and purposeful communication needs no teleprompter, PowerPoint or spotlight because the speaker’s heart – your heart – will shine brightly for the audience.

This Valentine’s Day, turn your presentation into a love story between your audience and your message. When you speak from the heart, sincere passion and love will come through–and it is contagious. It’s easy to talk to others when your heart is in the right place.

Spread the love and speak on. And Happy Valentines Day!

learn to speak with moxie