Six Critical Aspects of Public Speaking

For a Long time Public Speaking has posed a great problem to most of human beings. Traditionally, public speaking was known as the leader addressing a crowd from the stage. It is not so today. Verbal communications have become extremely important. So even if you are speaking one on one, same articulation and clarity in voice is required as if you are talking to a group. PPT presentations have become very important in day to day functioning of the office. We will therefore deal with the six most critical aspects of Public Speaking, which are:

  1. Stage Fright:

Stage Fright is the fear of speaking to someone or to a group of people. When you are addressing a group of people the intensity of stage fright may be more. However if an executive is speaking just to one person – his Big Boss, he/she may experience the same fear as if they are speaking to a crowd. The strength of the fear may very from person to person and situation to situation.

  1. Preparation:

You must thoroughly prepare to meet the requirement of any speaking assignment. And how do you do that? First of all, you must know your subject well. Content is the king. You should never pretend and display your ignorance of the subject to a group or even to an individual. If you don’t know, your best option is to say ‘I don’t know about it as of now’. Nobody can be expected to know everything under the Sun. Further, you should know your audience very well and you should speak in their own language.

  1. Body Language:

This is also very important to convey your massage. If your body language does not contribute to the efficacy of your speech, the audience will not appreciate your message. They will feel that you’re not speaking from your heart. This will go against the basic can tenets of public speaking- Ethos, Pathos and Logos. So far as body language is concerned, everything counts. The way you stand or sit, your facial expressions, the movement of your hands and legs if you’re standing. All are important.

  1. Practice:

Practice is critical for making a presentation. You must practice by reading your speech many times. You should also practice the way you’re going to deliver your speech. In delivery, it’s important to maintain an eye contact with the audience. And enthusiasm should be maintained throughout the speech. It is possible only if you breathe properly. Deep breathing is recommended. In fact yoga and various yogic practices help you to develop a habit of deep breathing. The importance of practice in public speaking can never be exaggerated.

  1. Audience connect:

You should connect with the audience. It should appear that you are speaking to them individually. You may roll your eyes in the entire hall. Verisimilitude will take place. The speaker should never look toward the ceiling or any corner or only in one direction. This will disconnect the rest of the people. In turn, they will become disinterested.

  1. Inject humor:

Any speech devoid of humor becomes very dry and uninteresting. Humor can be created in many ways. Experienced speakers ask the audience simple questions a in such a way that they burst into laughter. A new speaker has to be more careful. He should practice interesting anecdotes, or humorous stories. We must remember that the relevance of the story with the subject or the situation we face should be unquestionable. Story telling is also an art which must be practiced extensively.
Public speaking is no doubt difficult. But its advantages are immense. Today, when lots of presentations have to be made by executives, any kind of stage fright or hesitation is a serious handicap. Likewise, clarity in speech in order to articulate your ideas is important to make an impact. Practicing by finding opportunities to speak in public will go a long way to making you good public speaker.
Thanks for reading.

What makes ‘Public Speaking’ a critical skill today?

Public Speaking has always been a subject of fear. The great speakers were poor speakers at one time. It is a myth that public speaking is a God given talent. The ability has to be developed. One has to work hard. It’s always better to practice under guidance of a competent trainer.
Public speaking is no longer a necessity for only for the political leaders or motivational speakers. The competence in this talent needs to be developed by everyone who wants to progress and who wants to maintain self-esteem. The concept is now extended even to speaking one on one or to a group or to your family members. The underlying qualities required are:

  1. Articulation: It refers to the clarity in speech. One must be in a position to express clearly whatever is there in mind. Syllables can be pronounced correctly only with the adept use of speech organs.
  1. Speech Organs We have 5 speech organs. These are- jaw, tongue, teeth, lips and palate. Wherever some of these are not use adequately, clarity is compromised.
  1. Eye Contact The speaker has to hold the attention of the listener/listeners. This can be achieved by making an eye contact with the audience. You must connect whether you are speaking to one person or to a large audience. Maintaining an eye contact is crucial.
  1. Coordination Between Mind & Speech Human brain thinks 10 times faster than the speech. Coordination between the mind and speech is of prime importance. Often times the speaker is at a loss to find the right word. While speaking it causes fumbles during the speech. This happens due to inadequate coordination. It can be achieved with practice.
  1. No Age Bar It is a fallacy that the talent needs to be developed at an early stage. Age is no bar to develop public speaking talent. Here I would like to relate a recent case study.

One of my students (in his late 60s) said that during his life he never could speak to more than 1 person at a time. A diamond merchant by profession, he retired and handed over the business to his sons. With a desire to give back to the society, he started an NGO. Due to his contacts he was able to gather enough funds. His dedication to the cause enabled him to do good work in his village in Gujarat. Whenever a project would be completed he would face the “biggest problem in his life”. Invariably people would ask him to say few words and that was the “biggest problem”.
Because of the aforesaid compulsion, he was motivated to learn public  speaking after retiring from business. A strong desire enabled him to practice hard. Subsequently he participated in various seminars and now he is an accomplished public speaker.
Life has changed. It is moving extremely fast. Snail mail has been replaced by email. Enthusiastic business leaders want things to happen ‘yesterday’. Telecom revolution and internet has changed the rules of the game so far as communication is concerned.
To be continued…..

Seven Secrets of Public Speaking

Great leaders are great speakers. Public Speaking is an Art as well as a Science. One needs to understand what goes into making of a great public speaker. Today, I will talk to you about the seven secrets of Public Speaking.
Secret No. 1: Confidence
You must have confidence in yourself. You must respect yourself and value your opinions. You can only achieve this if you are not judgmental. It can be achieved if you have an open mind. Once you realise that like any other human being you can also make mistakes, you become confident. Again you become confident because you have nothing to hide and nothing to fear!
Secret No. 2: Overcoming Stage Fright.
Public Speaking dates back to the origin of history. Likewise stage fright has been felt by the Public Speakers from the time immemorial. There is no short cut for overcoming stage fright. We must realise that when we speak to audience it is not stage fright but it is heightened feeling. This is also a feeling we get whenever we are about to do something important. The more we find opportunities to address the audience, the faster we will overcome stage fright.
Secret No. 3: Body Language
This refers to the way you stand; the way you walk – it refers to your posture while speaking and your dress must also be cool!
Secret No. 4: Eye Contact
While speaking it is necessary that you make eye contact with you audience. It should appear that you are talking to the people. Each person of the audience should feel that you are talking to him or her. This can be achieved by practice along.
Secret No. 5: Articulation
Articulation for a Public Speaking refers to the clarity in his ideas, and the clarity of each and every word that he/she speaks. This is more of a Science. It can be achieved by understanding the principles and with lots of practice.
Secret No. 6: Ability to hold the attention of the audience
You have to develop modulation in your speech. This can be practiced by memorising and repeating dramatic monologues of Shakespeare and others. A lot of hard work has to get into building talent to modulate.
Secret No. 7: The Structure of the Speech
Every Speech must have a clear cut beginning. The various points that you want to communicate to the audience form the body. You need to be clear about these points which should not be more than three or four. In conclusion you must summarize what you have talked about and your speech on a happy note.

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