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EFFECTIVE PUBLIC SPEAKING SKILL

Updated on February 10, 2015

Professional speakers are known for their long time speaking experience. Their ability to stand on the stage and render to the audience what they have is an expression of their readiness to deliver; this is the product of adequate preparation.

Before you begin a speech, you need to know who is in your audience, what are their interests and desires, and to what type of messaging they best respond to. Also, find out the length of the speech, any information about the audience, and the preferred methods of delivery and make sure that your delivery style and your message will be welcomed and well received. Your audience will walk away with this. There should be no doubt at the end of your speech about your overall message and if the audience forgets everything else you said, if they remember this overarching message, you will have done your job well. Now that you know your core message for the speech, you can start building the speech. There are more steps also to take for an effective preparation;

SELECT A TITLE OF INTEREST

At times, you may not be the one to make a choice on what to speak about. You can be invited to talk on a particular topic that you may not expect. In that case, make a decision to adjust to the terms and conditions that follows. But on your own, if there are no topics given to you to prepare on, then you can talk about something that will help you flow with your audience. This will ensure that you are interested in your topic and motivated to do your research and prepare. When you present, others will feel your enthusiasm and be interested in what you have to say.

GET USED TO THE VENUE

It is very important to know the nature of the venue you will be making your presentation. This may be done some days before the stipulated date of the presentation. If at all possible, try practicing at least once in the environment that you will eventually be speaking in.

WRITE DOWN POINTS

I have once attended a seminar where the speaker held close to himself his booklet and read word for word all that was in his book. It is not a taboo to make use of a little booklet where points are jotted down word for word. Have you ever sat through a speech where someone read from a prepared script word for word? If you’re like the rest of us, you probably don’t recall much of what was said. The advantage of writing down points is to enable you remember points if you forget them on stage. When you read out a point, explain more on the point you’ve read out. This will help you flow more lively with your audience.

START PRACTICE

Adequate practice will go a long way toward helping you boost your self-confidence. When you are done with putting down your points, start practice immediately. If possible, stand in front of a mirror and watch you speak to yourself. This will enable you gain some self confidence, because you will begin to see yourself on stage the way your audience will see you. Another thing that helps practice more lively is imagination; see yourself stand in front of a crowd or audiences like you’ve been doing it before – it helps.

LEARN TO DRESS WELL

Most of us do not think of the color and fabrics that will fit our God given colors. Do not wear a dress because you saw it look nice on someone else. All colors don’t fit both dark and fair persons; there are colors that are meant for both complexions. I’m not really telling you what you must wear, but know that bright colors create a good impression about yourself, but too much black, brown or even dark grey sometimes come off negatively on personalities. You’ve got to know what fits you. If you are a lady, you should give more attention to personal appearance. On a day you have to stand before the audience as a man, wear a suit. It makes you look more serious than appearing on a gown or T-shirt.

CLEAR YOUR VOICE

Having a clear speech is the mark of confidence in a person. It is a good and interesting experience when you sit under the clear voice of a confident speaker. The more you listen the more you would want to hear them speak. Remember that every audience measures the level of confidence of a speaker by his voice and facial looks. An attractive voice is a great social asset. Though it’s not easy to obtain, except for those who have been naturally endowed with it. Apart from having the natural gift of a good voice, you can improve yours if you wish to. It is not good to speak with a high pitch when addressing an audience. You’ve just got to be moderate in tone, in order to speak for a long time before cracking.

EYE CONTACT

Eye contact is known to be one of the most important communication tools. Every day, we make eye contact with people, either in the right or wrong way. Eye contact and facial expressions provide important social and emotional information. People, perhaps without consciously doing so, gaze each others eyes and faces for positive or negative mood. In some contexts, the meeting of eyes arouses strong emotions. Eye contact provides social information to the person you are listening to and talking to. When you engage too much eye contact, you could be seen as aggressive, too little eye contact and you can be seen as having no interest in the person speaking. It is an often overlooked skill to have and an underutilized skill when communicating with people. You can see masters of eye contact in great sales persons, politicians, and good public speakers.

Even when you talk with people during counseling, eye contact is needed. When you maintain eye contact with someone you are communicating with, the person would give you every attention you need showing interest in what you are saying. There are some proven ways to improve your eye contact;

  • Talk With A Group: with this method, you will improve your ability to flow freely with peers and express yourself. When talking to a group of people it is great to have direct contact with your listeners. Don’t make the mistake of maintaining eye contact with just one person as this will stop the other members of the group from listening. To make it simple, focus on a different member of the group with every new sentence. This way you are talking to the entire group.
  • Talking To An Individual: It is important to maintain eye contact when talking to a person, but try as much as possible not to stare at them intensely, which may give your listener a different message from what you are communicating across. If you talk for 8 seconds, break eye contact, and return. When breaking the eye contact don’t look down as this might indicate the ending of your part of the conversation. Instead, look up or to the side as if you are remembering something. Try it just now: don’t move your head, and think about the first time you started school. You will notice your eyes might move up or to the side as you try to remember this. So when your listener sees this they will think you are trying to remember something and keep on listening to you.
  • Listening To someone: when listening to someone, try as much as possible not to intensely stare at the person. If that speaker is not so strong to stand the eyes of the crowd, he/she may fumble. You can also learn to maintain eye contact through listening. But if you are not used to the crowd, and a speaker comes close to you to ask you a question, you may see yourself shying away from him or her, sometimes your heart may beat faster than usual, but it doesn’t have to be this way, you have to learn to focus on the speaker if you realize he’s coming close to you for an interaction.
  • Engage in Argument: when you argue with someone, you strengthen your communication skills. When argument ensues holding your gaze on your opponent shows strength on your own side. If you look away when arguing with someone you have lost the argument. Obviously this depends on who you are arguing with but in general it is better to hold the gaze whilst you are making your point and also when you are listening to the other person. We have all come across the person who is great at arguing and making you feel small, you will notice that everyone who is like this try to stare you out. Stare back, it will surprise them, piss them off and put them off what they are trying to say. Staying silent and staring at someone who is trying to rile you is also an effective way to win an argument without saying a word.
  • Loving someone: My wife and I often share a prolonged gaze into each other’s eyes and it is a very special thing to just stare without talking. My wife’s pupils will dilate and she can my pupils dilating. It creates a strong bond between us. To make your pupils dilate even more you can try this: as you are staring at your partner imagine yourself going inside their body and your two souls making love. You are trying to touch their very soul. This will release adrenalin and make your pupils dilate even more.


  • Learn to smile: smile is the unplanned natural communication of feelings without words, which has no language or cultural bias. Although it does not last long, but that smile, coming directly from the heart, have a wonderful dual effect and an unbelievable mutual benefit to both the person who smiled and the one who received it. It has been discovered that smiles produce an electrical stimulus that affect the pituitary gland. The gland in turn, releases endorphins (chemical substance in the brain that makes us feel good). Smiling also helps to increase hormone production, good heart rate and contributes to better circulation of blood round the body. A sincere smile communicates our feelings without the need for words. Smiling really comes from the inside. It is a gift you can give to someone without cost. The best way to learn to smile is to learn to love smiling.

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