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Introducing Public Speaking
Communication is a vital key in this new century. It gives an edge to keep abreast with the fast pace of the times. Public speaking definitely works towards this goal.
The diversity of opinions today, which are often controversial, has increased the need for public speaking. People need to voice out their views to function well in society. For some four thousand years, public speaking has been the key in building and keeping a democratic society and way of life. Its influences are vast and affect almost all aspects of life, such as the way we think or act. It is also used in court proceedings, in congress, and even in the plain setting of a classroom.
Speaking in public can sometimes be a real challenge, if not a source of embarrassment; not only to normal people, but even to persons of high rank such as scholars, doctors, artists and entrepreneurs. They may have hesitations in facing an audience, often accompanied by sweaty palms, stuttering, and the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon. These dilemmas often cause untold problems to the speaker (especially in self-expression) and unpleasant effects to the audience.
You probably got this book because you are up for a speech delivery soon and you need valuable tips. Or perhaps, you saw the link between success and effective speaking, and have realized this can help you. Hopefully this book would do just that.
Technical terms or jargons in public speaking are explained here, and in a humane way, to help you grow as a good public speaker.
There are scores of books on public speaking. But few really give practical help. This book aims to do what other books have not in terms of giving direct beneficial information.
Careful thought has been given to people who really love to speak publicly but do not have the luxury of time to prepare for such. This will help you make your next speech a great one, and become better with each succeeding speech. It aims to help people write and deliver an interesting, clear, and cogent speech quality. This book also tries to answer the questions and fears of the occasional speaker.
Included also in this book is a summary of experiences in public speaking, and how they have led to success.
Aristotle said “a speaker needs three qualities – good sense, good character, and goodwill toward his hearers.” Thus, public speaking is also about developing speakers, and ultimately, decent human beings. Whether the speech is short or long, the same rules apply, like the rule of preparation. The habit of preparing makes good speakers. Some would say that they speak from “inspiration,” when in fact they have been preparing their speeches all their lives.
Getting Started: Your First Speech
Imagine you’re in a classroom. Who do you think speaks excellently? You may select those who look smart or those who often recite in class. You may think that these people are actually more confident than you think they are. Or perhaps, they are born speakers and you are not.
Well, it may surprise you that they’re probably thinking the same thing about you! They may also feel that you are a born speaker and envy you because they have fears in public speaking. Some may have special interests in public speaking, but most people do not know anything about it.
Then again, you may actually be a good speaker without realizing it. It pays to find out by actually doing it and by seeing yourself doing it. You may be just like this student during his first speech in class.
He needed to prepare a long speech. Two weeks before, he had started writing his speech. He could not sleep at night. In fact, the night before his speech, he did not sleep at all. However, when he finally did his speech and saw it on video, he realized that it was not as bad as he expected it to be. He did not experience the usual symptoms of speech anxiety, such as going blank while speaking, or speaking very softly and hearing chuckles in the audience. Through the video, he discovered that he has actually improved in public speaking.
If no video of your speech is available yet, you can watch yourself speak formally in front of a mirror.
Preparing Yourself to Speak
Here are the basic rules of public speaking: Gain an understanding of who you are. Discover your own knowledge, capabilities, biases and potentials. Gain an understanding of your audience. Ponder upon what the audience wants to hear, what provokes their interest, what they believe in and what they want to know.
Gain an understanding of the situation. Consider how the setting of the place and other unforeseen factors could affect the way you deliver your speech. Anticipate response from the audience. Make sure you have a clear purpose in mind so that the audience will respond in the way you want them to. Search for other sources of information. There might be more materials available for you to make your speech more colorful. Come up with an argument that is reasonable. Make sure that the purpose of your speech is supported by clear and reliable data to formulate a sound argument. Add structure to your message. Organize your ideas so that the audience will not have a hard time following and digesting your ideas. Talk directly to your audience. Make sure the language you are using is one that your audience is comfortable with. Consider the occasion in delivering your speech. Gain self-confidence through practice. It is only through practice can you effectively present your speech. Master the flow of your presentation by repeatedly rehearsing it. That way, you can have command over your speech.
Becoming a Good Public Speaker
You have probably heard professors give boring and monotonous lectures. Dull presentations clearly point that a lot of people do not give much importance to good speeches. These speakers may even be unaware that they are boring or ineffective because they lack knowledge about the basic characteristics of a good speech. Hence, to prevent this pitfall, you must remember some basic principles. 1. Respect the variety of the audience.
Good speakers do not look down on their audience. They consider the audience as equals. They know that the listeners have different backgrounds; hence communicating to each of them effectively would also entail different methods.
Before actually organizing a speech, you have to take into consideration your audience. Consider such things as age, gender, and cultural backgrounds. What do they know about your topic? What are their beliefs and values? By looking at these factors, you can choose a topic that suits them and style your speech in the way you feel would be most effective.