Be honest. If you’re a speaker, you crave one. Everyone else gets one, why shouldn’t you? And those invitations to speak are going to flow much more often if you can say, “She’s greeted with rapturous audiences giving standing ovations wherever she goes!”
So how do you get a standing ovation? Three simple steps. Simple, but not easy to do well.
1. Speak on a topic you’re passionate about. Ultimately, it comes down to passion, because speakers unconsciously share their emotions with the audience and you need to care to make the audience care enough to stand up at the end. So pick a topic you really, really care about. Or don’t bother to speak.
2. Tell a personal story of overcoming hardship. The most common mistake speakers make is to skip over the bad news, their imperfections, or the rough spots in their story. Yet that’s precisely what audiences love. You must give your audience a story arc, one that shows you facing and overcoming some challenge – but really struggling with it, not just taking it as another hurdle among many you easily surmount. Character is revealed in conflict, struggle, and difficulty. If you’re not willing to show us that, we won’t care.
3. At the end, turn the speech over to the audience. I mean something quite specific here. That is, at the end you must share your cause, or universalize it, or find some way for the audience to join in. Together we can….. Find some way to give the audience a chance to jump to their feet ready to do something to make the world better. If you really want a Standing O, you need to make the end of the speech about the audience’s role, not yours.