Master Public Speaking

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You can master public speaking now with these top tips. I discovered early on that like everything else you become effective at public speaking by actually giving speeches. Going to conferences that where a lot of presenters talk about public speaking doesn't work.

You have to speak. The best way I know for mastering public speaking to join Toastmasters. There are clubs everywhere in the world. Join one as soon as you can.

So where to begin to master public speaking? Before choosing your topic or writing anything, you’ll need to determine your audience and purpose. Check this out first before choosing your topic because when you know the exact demographics and culture of your audience and you know your purpose for giving the speech, you’ll be able to target these during the research and writing process.






Find the best ideas for your speech



Speech Preparation and Organization

1.      Choose a topic.

2.      Decide on your focus for this topic. For example, let’s say your topic is cars. Your focus and the title of your speech could be “The Global Effect of Cars on the Environment.” Use a mind map to find your focus or speech perspective.

3.      Gather your material from as many sources as possible. Take notes and make sure to include your sources so you can return for quotations and more detail later on.

4.      Public speaking involves persuasion, so speakers who are knowledgeable about their topics are more credible than those who speak off the top of their heads. You want to be believable, authentic and convincing.

5.      Write your speech using a speech outline.  Include an attention getting opener, the body and a conclusion that has impact. Compare the body of your speech to a human body. The bones are your major points, the joints are the transitions and the muscles are the facts to persuade the listeners. The heart of the speech is your passion for the topic.

6.      Make it easy for your audience to follow you ideas by using chronology, location, problem/solution and cause/effect.  Choose the method of organization that best suits your topic and message.

7.      Use words and phrases that bring your message to life. Active verbs such as “amble,” “run,” “skip,” and scuttle say a lot more than a vague word like “go.” Use of language is important for effective public speaking.

8.      Use humor, innovation and stories to add spark to your content. The best stories cross cultural boundaries. Give your audience something to take home with them such as excellent URLs. This is an important factor to master public speaking.

Consider this --

When we speak, we have about 60 seconds to capture our audience’s attention, establish credibility, orient them to our topic and motivate them to listen.

Use your notes as an aid not a crutch during your speech.



Practice

Practice is crucial. I've seen a ton of speeches that were written on the fly and delivered without much practice. The audience always knew that the speaker was unprepared and the speaker knew it too as he/she fumbled through. The trick is to spare yourself the embarrassment and humiliation by putting in the time. As they say, “The proof is in the pudding.” What we produce demonstrates our effort.

One of the best ways to prepare a speech for delivery is to divide it into 5-8 line paragraphs. Save the document at a 12 to 14 point font size or at the best size for easy reading from a distance of two feet. Print a copy.

Now stand up in a room where you have privacy. Pretend you have an audience. Read the speech. To help prepare for an actual audience, look around the room at various spots as you speak. You could also place post it notes with smiley faces around the room to represent your audience. Read your speech. While reading, look around the room. Eye contact helps draw the listener into the message you are delivering.

Correct and edit any problem areas as you read. Read your speech out load three times. After you've edited the speech for errors, time it reading at a slow to normal pace. Lengthen or shorten your speech as necessary. Memorize your speech.

I like to highlight the first few words of each paragraph and use those words to keep me on track. Now deliver your speech without reading it. You can check your written speech if you get stuck. Now that your speech is prepared, you are ready to consider body language and gestures.

Practice, practice, practice to master public speaking.

Body Language and Gestures

Gestures are hugely important to master public speaking because natural body language and gestures give impact to your speech. You want to capture and maintain audience attention with appropriate gestures, good voice tone, pacing and moving around the floor.

Eye Contact

As “the windows of the soul, your eyes connect you to your audience. They build credibility and persuade, entertain or motivate your listeners. Let your eyes move from on listener to the next, smoothly, effortlessly and softly. Lure the audience into your presentation to master public speaking.

Facial Expressions

Used effectively, your facial expression will attract and maintain your audience’s attention and provide positive visual support for your message. Raise your eyebrows to show surprise, smile to confirm appreciation, and frown to show disagreement.

Gestures

Using your hands well provides results. Use natural gestures and finger movements to introduce main points, hands and arms to illustrate size and your whole body to demonstrate passion. Varied gestures will keep audience attention and appropriated gestures will reinforce your message, bold gestures will communication confidence. Gestures are important for master public speaking.

Move Around

You want to look like a living breathing human being. Natural movement makes you appear more interesting to an audience. For example, to highlight a point, move with purpose to the other side of the speaking area. To illustrate contrast, move left to discuss an idea and right to discuss an opposing idea. Avoid repetitious and nervous movements, pacing or swaying.

Listen

Listen to your audience’s reaction to your speech by reading their facial expressions and body language. Can they hear you? Are they able to understand your message? Are they alert, nodding and laughing in the right places? Gauging your audience’s mood and making calculated changes based on what you see and hear will boost your responsiveness as a speaker. 

Listening is the most underrated of the four communication skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. This is too bad because everyone wants to be listened to and heard. And to master public speaking, listen to your audience in order to be responsive to them. 



Last Important Point

Always remember that most listeners are tuned into WIIFM, What’s In It For Me. Successful speakers try to understand their audience’s emotional and informational needs. Successful speakers develop their speeches to meet those needs. 

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