Unleashing Your Communication & Performance Potential



“I was seated alone in my study, silently nursing my feelings of rejection and loss. My four-year old daughter wandered in and saw me. Her face lit up. She ran up to me, jumped on my lap, hugged me tightly, and whispered softly in my ear, “I love you, Daddy.” (Pause) I felt as if a soothing balm had been gently laid on my wounded heart. She loved me. I was her Daddy…. That was enough.”


The above paragraph is from my speech Love Makes the Connectionthat placed second at the World Championship of Public Speaking in 1992 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Read that paragraph again and notice what tools from the speaker’s tool kit are being used to paint a picture. In painting the picture of that scene, I described what I saw (visual), what I heard (auditory), what I felt (kinesthetic), and what my daughter did (run, jump, hug, whisper), which is action. In other words, as a speaker, you describe to the audience what they would see, hear, and feel as the action in that scene unfolds. That draws each member of the audience into that scene. When you do it effectively, each listener begins to experience what you are describing. Then, your speech becomes the listener’s experience. As the listener experiences it, the listener’s imagination is activated and the listener becomes a co-creator of the message. That is the power you have as a speaker when you paint pictures with the tools of your craft – words, images, sounds, feelings, smells, tastes, action, and figures of speech


Ask yourself, if the audience were at the scene, 

What would they see?

What would they hear?

What would they feel?

What would they smell?

What would they taste?

What actions would take place?

What figures of speech can best convey the experience?



Consider the following examples. The tools used are described below it:


It was so cold the four layers of clothing I had on seemed hardly sufficient to keep the icy blast of arctic air from wrapping its fingers around my core. I kept moving as fast as I could, one step after another … crunching the snow and ice under my boots, my gloved hands thrust deep into my pockets. It was a white wilderness with not a soul in sight. The only sign of life was the faint but acrid smell of wood smoke. Home fires were burning.



Visual: “four layers of clothing,” “boots;” “gloved hands thrust deep into my pockets;” “a white wilderness with not a soul in sight.”

Personification (giving human-like qualities to inanimate things): “arctic air …wrapping its fingers around my core.” 

Auditory: “crunching [the snow and ice].”

Olfactory: “faint but acrid smell of wood smoke.”

Action: When you are delivering that paragraph, it adds impact for you to mimic what you are talking about by thrusting your hands deep into your pockets and purposefully striding across the stage. When you get to the part about the “faint but acrid smell of wood smoke,” you could pause, tilt your head up and sniff the air.


The waves crashed down on the glistening golden beach and spread out like a white blanket, with a loud hiss like the sound of steam going up the smokestack of a steam locomotive. The white blanket reached as far as it could, paused, and then reluctantly receded back into the fathomless ocean. 



Action: “Crashed down; “spread out.” You could enhance the effect by using gestures that show the powerful crashing down of the waves and the graceful spreading out of the water.

Visual: “Glistening, golden sand; white blanket.”

Simile: “like a white blanket;” “with a loud hiss like the sound of steam going up the smokestack of a steam locomotive.”

Personification: “[The white blanket] reached as far as it could, paused, and then reluctantly receded back…”


Your effectiveness at painting word pictures depends not on the words alone, but on your ability to use vocal variety and intonation, body language and movement, and facial expressions. When all these things work together along with the words, you are not just a speaker, but you are an artist!


For a superb example of the speaker as artist, experience the speech given by the 2013 World Champion of Public Speaking, Presiyan Vasilev. In his speech titled Changed by a Tire, he paints such a vivid picture of changing a tire, including sound effects, that I felt like I was right there by his car watching him try to crank his jack!


The best way we learn is by applying the knowledge we gain. Consider an upcoming presentation and ask yourself how you can paint a picture using the speaker’ tool kit of words, images, sounds, feelings, smells, tastes, action, and figures of speech. Supplement that with voice, body language and facial expressions and you will present a word painting that will capture the imagination of your audience!


Diamond Tip – Adding Life to a Speech


 Q: Compared to many other speakers, I think my speeches tend to be boring. Part of the reason is that I have a monotone voice and the other part is that I give mainly technical presentations. What do you recommend I do to “pep up” my speeches?


Dr. Dilip: Technical presentations don’t have to be boring and you cando something about a monotone voice! Before you prepare your next technical presentation, identify what is significant about the material you are planning to present. The significance should include both what you think is of particular interest and what the audience might find to be of value to them. Then prepare the presentation in such a way that your findings/research conclusions are not obscured but are supported by details and facts. In other words, put yourself in the seat of an audience member and ask yourself what would make sense and add appeal from an audience’s point of view. Buy into the value of what you are providing. If you can't get enthusiastic about your presentation, no one else will! As for the monotone voice: you can begin by reading poems, recording them, listing to the recordings and evaluating them for vocal variety, and then re-reading the poems and noticing how your variations in pitch, volume, rate, and cadence are improving. It will take work, but it’s worth it. A good place to start is my article, Power Tips for Improving Vocal Variety.

What a Diamond Club member Tony Crocamo says:


“Dr. Dilip’s Diamonds Round Table gives me direct access to a world class speech coach for a full hour each month from the comfort of my own home. I am able to ask questions, learn, and benefit from Dr. Dilip’s years of experience as a speaker on the international stage.  Every speaker can benefit from his level of experience, and now twelve monthly sessions of the Diamond’s Round Table, that’s 12 hours of top-notch speech training, costs less than most six-hour speech training seminars.”


-Tony Crocamo

Quote to think about

Eloquence is a painting of the thoughts.
– Blaise Pascal



Dr. Dilip Abayasekara
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in Time

Dr. Dilip’s Speaking Engagements




January 29:
Begin coaching program – Selected personnel at
Hershey's Ice Cream

January 31:
Sales Training, MVP Group

February 4: 
Men’s Retreat Planning Meeting

February 4: 
Speech Coaching – Manager

February 5:
Case Study Presentation at
Wesley Seminary

February 7: 
Speech Coaching #2 for Seminar Presenters

February 8:
Planning Meeting with Strategic Partner

February 13: 
Church Consultation Training

February 21: 
Speech Coaching #3 for Seminar Presenters

February 22:
Dr. Dilip to be interviewed on
 radio show

March 14: 
Speech Coaching #4 for Seminar Presenters

March 21-23: 
Camp Hill United MethodistChurch Men’s Retreat

March 7-8: 
Church Consultation

March 28-29: 
Speaking Mastery Workshop

April 25 & 26:
Training to be a 
M28 Coach(Phil Maynard)


For archived issues of this newsletter, click here:previous issues


Do You Want to Break Out of the Pack and Reach a Higher Level of Speaking Performance?

Then come join theDiamonds Club.


Here is what you get from the Diamonds Club:

As a member, you will receive:

  • Free monthly video conferencing,known as Diamonds Round Table. This will include short educational sessions on public speaking, communication or personal development topics and give you an opportunity to ask Dr. Dilip your questions about any upcoming speech or challenge, “meet” fellow Diamond Club members, learn from each other, and build an online learning community.
  • Receive anevaluation of any upcoming speech. Submit a video clip or script of a speech you are preparing to give. Receive expert feedback that will inform you about what you are doing well and receive practical tips on how to improve your presentation.
  • Discounts ontraining andcoaching programs and products from time to time.

You can hurdle time and money obstacles because for a low monthly fee, you can access all of the above 24/7! In order to make this valuable experience available for more people in whatever country they live in, I have reduced the membership fee by more than 60%! 

For more details and to sign up, click here.


Join the February Diamonds Round Table!

Open to all Diamonds Clubmembers and invited guests:

Tuesday, February 25, 2013, 8:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. USA EDT

It doesn't matter where you are because this is an online meeting!


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