“Nothing is more important than the ability to communicate effectively” -Gerald R. Ford
- What is public speaking?
Public speaking is a process, an act, and an art of making a speech before an audience. Absolutely everyone from the age of 10 to 90 has found themselves in situations where they have had to speak publicly. However, telling an anecdote at a corporate party, introducing yourself in class, or delivering a paper at a conference does not necessarily make you a public speaker.
It is not enough to talk in front of a group of people to be a brilliant public speaker. Your goal should not be limited to informing your audience or expressing your thoughts publicly, but to changing emotions, actions, and attitudes, and to leave your listeners moved by the words and touched by their meaning.
“How to do it?” – has been a question many brilliant speakers have asked themselves.
- Three Styles of Speech
The three most common styles of speeches that you encounter in today’s business and social world are – impromptu manuscript and extemporaneous. To become a great public speaker. You will have to learn and ace each one of them, as it will allow you to speak confidently and effectively in front of any number of listeners and in any given situation.
An impromptu speech is prompted by the occasion rather than being planned in advance. While famous public speakers often joke that best impromptu speeches should be prepared weeks in advance, usually in real life we have very little or no time to prepare before we speak in front of the audience. Some examples of impromptu speech could be your boss asking you to bring the rest of your team up to date, or a group of friends urging you to say a few words at a non-profit event.
This type of speech is written like a manuscript and is meant to be delivered word for word. Manuscript speeches are used on many political and social occasions when every word carries a lot of weight and should not be misquoted. One of the most common examples of a manuscript speech is a political figure delivering a speech that has been written by another person.
An extemporaneous speech is the most commonly used type of speech that helps to establish an emotional connection with the audience. It is built around key points, but the material can be presented freely, allowing the speaker to make changes in their speech based on the listeners’ reaction.
1.3 Keep on Your Mind at First
- Know your topic. …
- Get organized. …
- Practice, and then practice some more. …
- Challenge specific worries. …
- Visualize your success. …
- Do some deep breathing. …
- Focus on your material, not on your audience. …
- Don’t fear a moment of silence
1.4 Psychology Behind the Fear of Public Speaking
Psychologists know that the very fact of being in the spotlight often triggers the whole range of physical reactions that we would experience in the face of real life-threatening danger as:
- Pounding heart
- Dry mouth
- Shaky hands
- Quivering voice
- Cold sweaty palms
- Stomach cramps
How can these findings explain the fear of public speaking?
If it is painful enough to be rejected by just one person, imagine the pain we could experience when being rejected by a large group of people. Of course, our emotions range from being absolutely terrified to feeling very uncomfortable!
Our anxiety and fright before the speech, however, may be caused not by fear of public speaking per se’ but by the audience’s reaction to our performance. Or put simply, we are afraid that our nervousness will interfere with our ability to perform and we will end up embarrassing ourselves.
Accepting our fear helps us to take proactive steps in addressing stage fright and letting the adrenaline rush work for you, not against you.
1.5 Ways to Transform the Public Speaking Fear into Excitement
The fear of public speaking should not turn into an obstacle to your professional and personal growth. It is much easier to build a business or to advance in your career when you are able to speak with confidence and authenticity to any size group.
If you are worried that fear may worsen instead of improving your presentation, here are 5 Practical Ways to transform it into unshakable confidence and excitement:
Such strong emotions as anxiety and fear trigger in your body a very specific “fight or flight” response: your muscles tighten, your heart rate increases, your blood pressure goes up and your breathing becomes shallow. While this physical reaction may be helpful in escaping danger it is hardly helpful during the presentation (as you can neither run away from your audience nor fight with it). However, since your breathing rate is directly connected to your emotional reaction, the fastest and easiest way to take your emotions under control and regain confidence is through deep breathing. Whether you are to talk to potential clients or make a presentation to your team, make sure that you remember to breathe deeply and evenly before and during your speech.
Shifting focus outwards
Paul L. Witt, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication studies at Texas Christian University, believes that many people perform worse than they could because they focus too much on their physical symptoms (i.e. butterflies, shaky hands, sweaty palms) and on their embarrassment instead of concentrating on their breathing and their speech. This problem could be easily avoided by shifting focus from how we feel or look to the message we want to share with our audience.
Visualization or mental rehearsal has been routinely used by many top athletes as a part of the training for a competition. In addition to athletics, research has shown that visualization helps to improve performance in such areas as communication, public speaking, and education.
To ensure that your presentation goes smoothly, aside from actual preparation and the rehearsal of your speech, take 10- 15 minutes a day to relax, close your eyes, and visualize the room you are speaking in, the people in the auditorium, and yourself confidently delivering your speech, smiling and moving across the stage.
Focusing on facts, not fears
Instead of focusing on irrational fears (e.g. mind going blank, the audience getting bored) concentrate your thoughts on positive facts such as: “I have practiced my speech many times”, “I am an expert on this topic”, “I have notes with major bullet points to keep the structure of my talk”. Focusing on positive facts and on what you can offer takes your thoughts away from irrational scenarios about what can go wrong.
Building your speech on clarity, not complexity
While it is often tempting to include as much useful information in your speech as possible, practice shows that this might not be a good idea. Organizing the speech or presentation around two-three main points, allows you to relax and not worry so much about running out of time or forgetting to mention something important to the listeners.
1.6 Effective Speech secrets:
- Make important points of the presentation memorable
- Establish a connection with the particular audience
- Emphasize the message
- Introduce controversial issues
- Encourage thinking
- Shape people’s beliefs
- Raise the energy level of the group
- Motivate people to act
The study dedicated to the vocal part of non-verbal communication is called paralinguistics, while the term “paralanguage” refers to the non-verbal elements of communication as:
- pace (speed)
- pitch (highness or lowness of voice)
- volume (loudness)
- and, in some cases, the enunciation of vocal speech.
The end of these just says one thing that, Nothing is much effective than rehearsal.