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Why Are Some Public Speakers More Interesting to Listen to?

Updated on August 17, 2010

Listening to Public Speakers Can Make One Go to Sleep

Okay, admit it. Who among us here did not experience falling asleep when listening to a public speaker? I for one has experienced this a lot of times in the past. No matter how interesting the subject is, or how absolutely necessary it is for me to listen through the whole thing, I often find my eyelids getting so darn heavy in the middle of the speech. Just to make sure I don't just drop off in never, never-land, I usually stand up, walk around and then drink some coffee. But when I go back to my seat, it happens all over again.

But then again, there are some speakers I have listened to who are very, very good (I would have gladly sat through the whole thing even if his talk takes 4 hours). One such speaker, Francis Kong, our local inspirational speaker who I had the privilege to listen to, was in his 400th public speaking appearance when I saw him last November 2008. That was like the third week of November and he still had almost a month and a half before the year ends. If my calculations are correct, he could be making around 450 public speeches within a year! Wow!

So what makes them good public speakers? Or let me put it this way? What made them made me listen to them the whole time they were speaking?

First one, their confidence. It's not only their external demeanor that shows their confidence, it's also in the way they speak. Confidence is evident in every word that comes out of their mouths and the over-all way that they project themselves that shows they know what they are talking about. Added to this is the conviction evident in the speaker's voice and these two combined will definitely make me sit up straight and take notice.

Secondly, I noticed that a lot of them are fond of telling jokes, jokes and more jokes. These jokes are not necessarily related to the topic but if interjected in a timely and good way, they will enliven up any public speaking engagement. Of course, alongside the jokes, the speaker also should be able to deliver them well. You don't want a speaker who tells a joke who suddenly giggles or laughs in the middle of it, right? It will kind of ruin everything.

Good voice quality and well modulated voice come in third for me. I definitely do not want to listen to a speaker with high-pitched, nasal, whiny voices. I know such a voice is not indicative of the quality of what they are saying but it's really irritating sometimes and I just tend to tune out. A speaker with a deep (for men) voice or a soft but firm (for women) voice is definitely a plus for me. The speaker I featured above has a very well-modulated voice and he is able to vary the volume of his voice, its quality and the speed of his words anytime during his speech - which makes it more interesting for us, his listeners.

Telling related stories is another plus for me, especially if these are based on personal experiences. I'm very interested in hearing such stories (not sob unrelated stories though) as they tend to give out lessons related to the topic. Not sure if some of these are really true but who cares just as long as it adds spice to the speech.

Lastly, activities within the speech or crowd participation is another sure way to get my attention. There's this one speaker who made us all stand up and sing a local song. But it was not just any other song, as she told us to use as lyrics the ones written on her visuals! The song was one we usually sing when we were children but the lyrics were related to accounting (and the words actually fit the tune!). That was really nice work. For my favorite speaker mentioned above, he will always make us stand up during his speech and make us do something that is not only fun but also has a lesson behind it to drive home his point. At first, we were all like groaning out loud because we didn't want to stand up (it was a dark, cold, big auditorium - very conducive to sleeping) but as his speech went on, we found ourselves more and more willing to stand up and to do his bidding! Believe me when I say we didn't want his speech to end!

My favorite public speaker - Francis Kong -
My favorite public speaker - Francis Kong -

Hmmm, I hope I didn't bore you to sleep reading through this hub (LOL). But you have to admit, listening to public speeches (even inspirational ones) and making sure you stay awake during the whole time are feats among themselves. It's always something when you listen to somebody from beginning to end without the coffee or the struggle to stay awake (or even asking your seatmate to pinch you just to make sure you are still awake!). If and when I do become a public speaker, I do hope that I will become like these speakers who have caught my attention and definitely made me more interested in what they are saying.


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    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 7 years ago from Australia

      Nice points to cover on Public Speaking and I agree with dayzeebee that the angle coming from the Listener side was good.

      One point I feel that builds the speaking confidence is the 'knowledge' of the topic of the speech. 100% knowledge will give 100% confidence!

    • emievil profile image

      emievil 8 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks dayzeebee.

    • dayzeebee profile image

      dayzeebee 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Very good observation. You about covered the more essential elements of public speaking. Treating the subject matter from the point of view of the listener made it more interesting.:)