better speaking skills » 4 Ways You Can Captivate an Audience Like Oprah

4 Ways You Can Captivate an Audience Like Oprah

by | Jan 15, 2018 | 0 comments

Oprah Winfrey jumped to the top of a list of potential 2020 candidates for president of the United States after giving a speech, accepting the Cecil DeMille award for lifetime achievement. What did she do in her January 7 Golden Globes award show speech?

Oprah ignited our imagination, gave us a history lesson and stirred our emotions. She even had a room full of Hollywood heavy hitters clapping and cheering like they were at a political rally. She clearly captivated her audience. And there are four things you can do to captivate an audience like Oprah.

In his new book, “SOAR,” Bishop T.D. Jakes explains what he tries to do in every speech or sermon: “I want my preaching, teaching, and speaking to be as relevant, engaging, powerful, and transformative to my audience as possible.”

Oprah’s Golden Globes speech was relevant, engaging, powerful and transformative. To make the T.D. Jakes recipe and Oprah’s speaking style work for you:

1. RELEVANT: Speak on a topic that’s relevant to your audience. Oprah spoke directly to the women in the entertainment industry who launched a “Time’s Up” movement to help women facing sexual harassment in the workplace. The theme of her acceptance speech was female empowerment.

2. ENGAGING: Use vivid descriptions so your audience can visualize the scenes in your stories. You could see Oprah in 1964 as a little girl “sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother’s house” watching Sidney Poitier get an Oscar for best actor (first black man to win that award). Couldn’t you feel how exhausted her mom was when she “came through the door bone tired from cleaning other people’s houses”?

3. POWERFUL: Vary the speed and volume of your voice for emphasis. Oprah slowly announced that “Recy Taylor died ten days ago, just shy of her 98th birthday.” And she turned up the volume to loudly proclaim: “I’m especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories.”

4. TRANSFORMATIVE: Offer new information, a different perspective or deeper understanding of your topic. Was Oprah’s speech your first introduction to Recy Taylor? I had never heard of this African-American woman who was raped in 1944 while walking home from church. Her story brought me to tears!

Need to make your next presentation as powerful as Oprah’s, go to and sign up for my free business presentation tools.

Rosalyn Porter

Rosalyn Porter

Rosalyn Gist Porter, MBA, founded Better Speaking Skills after more than 20 years in corporate communications as a manager, writer, and editor, for major corporations such as Lockheed Martin. Today, she helps coaches, business owners, executives, salespeople, sales teams, and other professionals increase sales, confidence, and influence with powerful public speaking and presentation skills! Rosalyn is Certified World Class Speaking Coach and a proud member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando.

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