Secrets of Dynamic Communications: Prepare with Focus, Deliver with Clarity, Speak with Power

Secrets of Dynamic Communications: Prepare with Focus, Deliver with Clarity, Speak with Power

by Ken Davis


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Secrets of Dynamic Communications: Prepare with Focus, Deliver with Clarity, Speak with Power by Ken Davis

What is the most important ingredient for an effective speech or presentation?

Whether you are one who speaks only on rare occasions or you find yourself addressing an audience every day, this book will be an invaluable tool. Beneficial to the experienced pro as well as the new beginner,Secrets of Dynamic Communication is a practical and effective handbook for powerful presentations of all kinds. It takes the reader through the process of selecting and developing a theme, giving it focus, fleshing it out, and communicating well with the audience. The first half is devoted to preparation, the second to delivery.

Author Ken Davis is frequently hired by individuals and companies around the world to bring his humor and expertise to others in the speaking field, and he is now bringing those concepts to the wider community as well. No abstract theories here, only step-by-step help in preparing and delivering speeches that get results! You’ll soon develop the dynamic speaking skills associated with the very best in the field.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780849921902
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 09/17/2013
Pages: 155
Sales rank: 562,707
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Ken Davis provides a unique mixture of side-splitting humor and inspiration that never fails to delight and enrich audiences of all ages. Davis’s daily radio program, Lighten Up! is broadcast on over 500 stations nationwide.

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Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2013 Ken Davis
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8499-6523-4


The Most Important Ingredient

Focus, Focus, Focus

What is your secret?"

Every time I turned around, someone asked me that question. At the back of the room after an event, in letters from fans, during media interviews, and even today after more than forty years of professional speaking, I'm asked, "What is your secret?" That's why I wrote this book.

But before we get to the secrets, a little history.

I think I was born with the communication gene. Most people fear public speaking. I have loved doing it as far back as I can remember. When a radio interviewer asked when I first started making people laugh and listen, I answered, "When the doctor slapped me on the rear and said it's a boy."

During my junior year in high school, Francis W. Peterson, my English teacher, inspired/blackmailed me to enter a speech contest. She also encouraged my participation in class plays and debate. Once I had tasted the rush of rhetoric and the joy of creating laughter, there was no turning back.

After graduating from high school I studied to be a pastor, one of the most challenging communication occupations there is. Congregations across the country still celebrate the day I chose not to follow that path. Instead, I found myself fielding calls from people in all walks of life who had heard me speak and wanted me to come and make presentations. I developed a high school assembly program called "Nothing but the best" that I delivered to nearly a million students across the country. I was invited to speak at some of the top corporations in the country, as well as in many churches.

As my career took off, people who were interested in honing their speaking skills began to ask: "What is your secret? How is it possible for you to speak to such a variety of audiences and hold their attention? Can you teach me how to do it?" I was embarrassed to confess that I didn't know the secret. I didn't even know there was a secret. I thought it just came naturally. Eventually the question could no longer be ignored. I did some research and began observing the best communicators in the country to discover what common denominator kept them in constant demand. What separated them from the average after-dinner drone? What gave one speaker the ability to empower and persuade so effectively when another could only inspire yawns?

At first the evidence led me to believe that the secret was in the "dynamics" of communication, that spark of enthusiasm, wit, humor, and animation that was the mark of so many great communicators. So we put together our first conference, called it "Dynamic Communicators Workshop," and taught our students how to develop those dynamics. It was at that workshop we discovered the real secret. Although the "dynamics" were common denominators to all of the most gifted communicators, there was something else, something less visible that set the best apart from everyone else.

If I were to ask you what that ingredient was, what would your answer be? Humor? Voice inflection? Interesting material? Good illustrations? Dynamic personality? Grab your highlighter. All of those are important, but the real secret to effective, dynamic speaking is ...


When we conducted our first workshop, now called the SCORRE Conference, 90 percent of the curriculum consisted of lectures and breakout sessions that taught those physical, dynamic aspects of presentation. Yet at the end of the workshop every student who attended identified the most valuable takeaway of the week was a forty-minute session on how to prepare a presentation with a single focused objective: focus. Everything else seemed to hang on this one teachable skill.

It's now been over thirty years since that first SCORRE Conference. Thousands of students have confirmed that if you want people to listen, learn, and take action, you must speak with crystal-clear focus. So why is it such a secret? Because focus doesn't happen in public on a well-lit platform. It happens in secret. In the quiet of your home or office.


We watch an amazing quarterback throw a perfect pass for the winning touchdown and wonder, "What is the secret to such precision?" And the answer is so unglamorous. It is hours of unseen practice, developing the "mundane" foundational basics such as how to hold the ball, how to stand, and how to develop the most efficient throwing motion. I wipe tears from my eyes as I listen to an orchestra bring a concert hall of patrons to their feet in wild applause. What is their secret? Years of playing scales, practicing the nuance of timing and volume. It's a secret because we don't see it. We just benefit from the result. It is in seclusion that the great communicators carefully craft that great public performance. In private they practice the secrets of dynamic communication that effectively drive their message home.

It is only after that focused preparation they can step on the platform to speak with confidence, move people to action, and change lives. And those of us who aspire to be great wonder, what is their secret? A relentless commitment to ...


Unfortunately the most widely excepted philosophy of communication is something quite different.

Shortly before I graduated from high school, I was invited to go deer hunting with the men from our community. Most of our neighbors and friends owned small farms and had little income. They depended on this hunt to help feed their families during the long Minnesota winters. To be invited to this ritual was an honor I had dreamed of for years. I can still feel the excitement of that frosty November opening day of deer season. A dozen men were lined up on a road prepared to march through a stand of timber and scare the ticks off any deer that might be hiding there. At the other end of the forest another group of men were posted in tree stands prepared to shoot any deer that tried to escape.

What a thrill. This was my rite of passage. I was now a trusted member of the adult providers in our community. I had hiked less than a hundred yards into the woods when a shot rang out. The bullet from that shot hit a tree only inches from my face and the splattering bark left welts on my cheek. Dazed, I remember thinking, That was close.

I took a few more steps and a second shot zipped above my head. As bits of leaf and branch landed on my shoulders, my naive young mind concluded, What a coincidence. Two close calls. The third shot followed almost immediately and came so close to my ear that I felt heat as it passed. I needed no more evidence. My mind screamed, Someone is shooting at you! My body responded.

I dived for the ground as bullet after bullet buzzed above my head. When the shooting stopped I looked up and could see the man who had been firing. He had used up all his ammunition and was in the process of reloading his gun. With a vocabulary I am not proud of, and screams of outrage that could be heard throughout the county, I managed to convince him that it would be hazardous to his health to shoot in my direction again.

Here's my point. This dangerous person should never have been allowed out of his pickup truck. I'm sure he was filled with enthusiasm and was probably using excellent equipment, but he lacked focus. Evidently his philosophy of hunting was, "There are deer in the woods somewhere. If I just shoot enough bullets in there, I'm bound to hit something!" Yeah, like me!

This is a dangerous and ineffective hunting strategy. It is also an ineffective communication strategy. Yet I am convinced that it is the unconscious, unspoken approach of many sincere communicators. "There are people out there everywhere," they reason. "If I just shoot enough information in their direction, something is bound to hit."

Nothing could be further from the truth. If you aim at nothing, you will hit nothing every time.

How can you expect an audience to get what you are aiming at if you don't even know yourself? In the first few moments of your speech, the audience decides whether you are worth listening to. If they sense a lack of direction or focus, you might as well pack your bags and go home because that's what their minds will do. Too often we end up preparing ineffectual shotgun messages, desperately wanting something—anything—to get through to the audience. We try to say it all, and end up communicating nothing.

Several years ago we did an informal survey of over two thousand people who had just listened to speakers in various communication settings. Although each survey was conducted less than fifteen minutes after the presentation, over 70 percent of the people leaving a presentation had no idea what had been communicated. Some could remember a joke or illustration, but most couldn't identify any purpose or direction for the talk. Why had the speaker even bothered to talk?

That isn't the sad statistic. We also interviewed the speakers and discovered that more than 50 percent of the speakers could not articulate an objective or FOCUS to their talk. They didn't know what they were trying to say or accomplish. No wonder the audience didn't know either!

That's why a dynamic presentation is secondary to a focused presentation. What good is it to be dynamic about nothing? What good are illustrations that go nowhere or interesting material that ends up on a dead-end street? Dynamics and theatrics without focus are merely entertainment. Nothing wrong with that, unless you are trying to communicate. Novels and plays have a plot, trips have a destination, life has a purpose. If you want to communicate, the single most important ingredient is an unmistakable aiming point and a careful plan to hit it. FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS. Focused purpose. Focused preparation. Focused presentation.


A new generation of speakers and leaders sometimes question the effectiveness of establishing a crystal-clear objective and constructing a speech that will lead to that objective. They believe that a smorgasbord of thoughts regurgitated in a creative manner will more effectively instruct, persuade, or encourage an audience. My question is, are you trying to communicate something? If so, then why not know what that something is and move people toward it? When pressed on what it is they want to communicate, many don't know. At best their response indicates that there are many "things" they want to say.

The same philosophy behind effective communication is utilized to function successfully in our day-to-day lives. When driving, we choose a destination and then choose the roads that will lead us there. When hungry, we take action to sate that hunger. In every case, all efforts are focused on one specific target or goal. If you find yourself in a strange airport and need power for your iPhone, your focused objective is to find an outlet. Only when you achieve that objective and finally slide the charging cord into an outlet and hear that wonderful "ding," can you relax and then choose a new objective.

This objective force drives our lives. In communication it is so powerful that if we don't set a focus for our presentation, an unconscious one will take over. Here are some of the vague, power-stealing, unconscious objectives that can rear their heads and steal power from a speech:

• I hope they like me.

• I need to fill the time.

• I need to get through the material.

• I want to impress the audience.

• I want to regurgitate my research.

• I want to make my quota.

• I must cover every item on the agenda.

The insidious nature of these diversions is that they negatively affect every aspect of a presentation and its outcome without you even being aware of it. If your unconscious objective is to be liked, you will unconsciously design and deliver a speech to meet that objective. People will like you! But is that what you wanted to accomplish with your presentation? If so, Hollywood might be a better career choice.

The power of unconscious objectives was graphically illustrated on another of my hunting trips. Years ago I exchanged my guns for a bow and arrow. I wanted to make hunting more of a challenge. I practiced until I was able to put all my arrows in an apple at twenty yards, and on several occasions I even split arrows in the target because I was shooting them so close together. The only way to achieve that kind of accuracy is to concentrate, not on the apple, but on one tiny spot right in the center of the apple. I worked at this concentration until it became second nature.

One day while hunting, I peeked over a ridge to discover one of the biggest bucks I had ever seen standing only yards away completely unaware of my presence. This deer was every hunter's dream. His horns looked like trees. To be successful I had to shoot an arrow in an area about the size of a small paper plate just behind his front shoulder. There was no way I could miss. At this range I could hit a fifty-cent piece every time. I could picture those monstrous horns adorning my den as I pulled back the bow and released the arrow. It flew as if in slow motion and struck the deer ... in the horns! Instead of picking a tiny spot to aim at, I hit the object of my focus.

Without conscious thought, I had concentrated on the horns, and that is exactly where my arrow stuck. That deer is probably still wearing the arrow ornament today, telling his grandchildren the story about the crazy guy with a sharp stick and a lack of focus.

In the early days of my career, my unconscious objective was "I hope they like me." I was working with youth and trying to communicate a very important message of faith. Because I was unfocused in my preparation, I was hitting the horns instead of the heart. My unconscious objective was met. They did like me, but I wasn't getting my message across. One night, I overheard a parent who was picking up her child ask, "What did Ken talk about tonight?" To which the student responded, "I don't know, but he was sure good." I no longer take this as a compliment. good at what? Good at entertaining maybe, but certainly not communication.

Nothing will create more fear and anxiety than agonizing over whether the audience will like you or not. There are many great organizations out there designed to help people get over the fear of speaking. According to surveys this fear is second only to death, followed closely in our home by the fear of spiders. Understanding two facts can help minimize the obsession with being liked and the fear of speaking that is married to it. First, confidence comes from focused preparation. Second, communication is not about you.

Communication is not about you or what people will think about you or how well you will perform. Communication is about the people sitting in front of you. It's about giving to them, helping them, instructing them, and persuading them of something that will enrich their lives.

Dave was one of our SCORRE students who was on the ground floor of developing a medical delivery program that would benefit both physicians and patients. In essence it was the forerunner to HMOs. Part of his job was making presentations to doctors and patient advocate groups to convince them of the value of the system. There was one problem: Dave hated public speaking. After I had worked with Dave for several days, he told me, "I feel like I am so vulnerable in front of every group I speak to. What if I blow it? What will they think of me?"

Here was a man who was offering a new product that would save millions of dollars for both the consumer and the provider, and yet his major concern was, "What will they think of me?" I remember leaning across the table and telling Dave, "It is not about you! You are not there to get personal approval; you are there to offer amazing benefits to your listeners. Instead of thinking about what they think about you, think about what you are giving to them."

After that Dave never looked back. The power of his presentations was multiplied, his sales soared, and he actually began to enjoy speaking.

Excerpted from SECRETS OF DYNAMIC COMMUNICATION by KEN DAVIS. Copyright © 2013 Ken Davis. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword Michael Hyatt ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction xv

Part I The Preparation: The SCORRE Process

1 The Most Important Ingredient: Focus, Focus, Focus 3

2 Establishing the Subject and Central Theme: What Are You Talking About? 19

3 Focusing in on the Objective: Identifying the Bull's-Eye 29

4 Developing Solid Rationale and Resources: That Makes Sense 47

5 The Never-Ending Process of Evaluation: Reaching for Excellence 55

6 The Total Communication Picture: Putting It All Together 59

7 Finding, Filing, and Crafting Illustrations: Make It Shine 71

Part II The Presentation: The SCORRE Delivery

8 Involving the Audience: You Are Always on My Mind 85

9 Using Effective Body Language: Let Your Body Talk 91

10 Maximizing the Communication Environment: Killing the Gremlins 105

Part III The Application: The SCORRE Advantage

11 Managing Your Time: Getting Out from Behind the Eight Ball 119

12 How to Use Humor in Communication: Funny-How That Works! 125

13 Characteristics of an Effective Communicator: The Messenger 141

Appendix: Propositions and Interrogative Responses, Key Words, Possible Headings for Topical File, Speech Worksheet 145

Other Services and Materials Available from Ken 151

Notes 155

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Secrets of Dynamic Communications: Prepare with Focus, Deliver with Clarity, Speak with Power 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ken's SCORRE method is the best. If you follow it your communication will improve by 100%...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Davis does a fantastic job addressing many of the concerns that we face when public speaking and how to overcome those particular challenges.  You might find that you are a better public speaker after you complete this book - there are a lot that have the same fear.  I would recommend this book to anyone who is in a job that requires them to speak to the general public. Whether you are in a rigorous sales job or leading a Church, this book is for you. 
Morgie More than 1 year ago
If you are worried about standing in front of your first or next group and giving a talk Ken Davis is here to help. No doubt about it public speaking can be difficult even if you are passionate about your topic. Secrets of Dynamic Communication gives all of us the necessary tools to be a successful speaker and shares more than a few secrets along the way: The Most Import Ingredient #1 - Focus - Know what you want to say ... and don't try to say too much. Have a single objective and know what it is. The Presentation #2 - Deliver - Never forget the audience. Being prepared and speaking well is only a part of the process... the audience must be engaged. Practice, Practice, Practice #3 - Speak with Power - Let your body talk. "Body language, voice inflection, facial expression, and gestures convey the conviction that makes you believable." Humor, humor is good. This new revised and updated edition is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to improve their pubic speaking presence. The writing is engaging, definitely reader friendly. Short enough to provide the information is a timely manner and long enough to give spot on lessons on how to give a great talk. The end of chapter "Review" is a bonus and I encourage each prospective speaker to complete the questionnaire. This book was provided by Thomas Nelson for an honest review, the words are my own.
PrisailurophileBlog More than 1 year ago
This is a boring subject written in an entertaining way. If you ask me, self-help books are way over-rated. Frankly speaking, I'm getting tired of it. Peculiarly enough, Secrets of Dynamic Communication stands out from the crowd. The book follows author Ken Davis journey as a speaker. Davis describes participating in speech contest, class play and debate. He talks about receiving encouragement from his English teacher, and how he never looked back. Further details on how he studied to be a pastor after his high school graduation. He was then invited to speak at top corporation and churches. Despite being a self-help book, Secrets of Dynamic Communication shows an intimate account of the author. It was honest and straight to the point. There's one particular point that I like. Present to deliver a focused objective, rather than getting the audience to like you. So many of us are guilty of this!  Some parts knocked my socks off. It was surprisingly funny. Especially Davis's deer hunting experience. Secrets of Dynamic Communication talks about SCORRE- Subject, Central Theme, Objective, Rationale, Resources and Evaluation. I do find that Davis has the tendency to repeat points, so that was a minor downfall. Still, I think this is worth a read to gather your perspective. Recommended for public speaking beginners.