Introduction to Public Speaking

Can you think of any memorable talk or presentation you have ever attended? It is sad to know that most of the presentations are easy to forget, especially when the main reason behind the presentation was to communicate something to you.

But if you remember these four basic things, then be assured that your verbal messages will be understood and remembered for long. Though these things may sound somewhat obvious and deceptively simple, they are of immense importance.

  1. You should understand your presentation’s purpose.
  2. Don’t confuse things; keep your message clear and exact.
  3. Be prepared well to face the audience and their questions.
  4. Don’t be monotonous; instead be vivid while giving the speech.

Always be clear about the idea that what do you want to achieve. It is very essential for you to know and understand, before you start working on your presentation or speech, what you want to say, whom you want to approach as your audience and why is it important for them to listen. Ask basic questions to yourself such as whom do you want to speak to, what are their interests, their beliefs and principles, what is common between them and others and how do they differ.

What is the message you want to convey to your audience? You can answer this question by asking yourself about the ‘success criteria’. How will you come to know whether and when your message has been successfully communicated?

Which is the best way to put across your message? Here non verbal cues such as your expressions and body language play a vital role along with the language. But keep your audience in mind while deciding your words and non-verbal cues. Plan your presentation from its start to the end. If you can add, then prepare audio-visuals to grab the audience’s attention.

The timing is also very important. Your contributions are seen and heard as relevant to the issue only if you develop a sense of timing. You should know when the time to speak is and when is it the time to be silent.

Next important question is ‘where?’ You should bear in mind the physical context of the communication. In case you are using audio or visual aids, then check for availability and the visibility. Visit the venue if you can.

To ensure that your audience listens to you and not just hear, you must know why they should be listening and tell them so if it is necessary.

Maintain simplicity. When you are conveying your message, use less but powerful words to leave a better impact. When you start giving too much of the information to the audience, they get overloaded and thus, tend to get bored.

In case you are using slides, use simple single statement or a diagram to convey your message, limit your content.

Be thoroughly prepared. If you fail to prepare, then you are prepared to fail. It is indeed an important aspect that decides your success as a speaker. In order to give yourself time to prepare your speech, set timing for meeting, speaking and presentation well in advance.

Since all communications cannot be scheduled, preparation may lead to good and thorough understanding.

How to achieve successful delivery of speech? How you represent yourself, your speech and the presentation leave a long lasting impression up on the audience. Only way to achieve success here is by practicing hard. Here are some tips to hold your audience’s attention:

  1. Associate your speech to the life by stating instances and citing examples.
  2. Don’t just stand and give your speech, bring in some animation, use your body language.
  3. Give pauses where ever you can. Don’t talk too fast or else the audience won’t be able to understand you.
  4. Use voice modulation. Stress on main points and use various tones of voice.
  5. If possible, use audio and visual aids.

Though public speaking and presentations appear to be a daunting task, but they can be turned into an enjoyable and a rewarding experience once you have practiced and rehearsed well. Always be a confident and an enthusiastic speaker.