Effective public speaking or oratory is an art, which may be learnt and perfected by anyone. What is needed is consistent practice and the capacity to continuously analyses one's strengths and weaknesses and take remedial measures to improve upon them. An effective public speaker will make an audience sit up and listen. In a corporate context, public speaking skills are often called presentation skills.
There are six essential elements of any effective public speaking, as given below:
1. Find out who the target audience is – the most important rule of those with great Presentation Skills
Public Speaking by definition, is not for you – but for your audience. Everything – your message, the key points and what you decide to emphasise will depend upon who is listening to you. If you have a deep awareness of your audience and their needs, you can tailor your message to appeal to them.
2. Determine exactly what you want to speak
It's important to have clarity on what you are going to speak. If you are a researcher or a scientist, and want to give a talk on your research findings, that should be the main theme of your talk. Explaining the process that led to the research in too much detail or talking about tangential topics might be interesting, but outside the scope of what the audience needs.
3. Arrange the material in proper order
The speech should start with appropriate address to the audience .The speaker must arrange the material in order of delivery, with emphasis on what should be told in which stage. Some speakers believe the best option is to write the whole speech in advance and revise it again and again, to fine tune it. For matter of convenience, you may divide your speech in 3 sections, introduction or background, the main body and the conclusions.
4. Keep the tone and flow smooth and consistent
The flow and continuity in moving from one sub – theme to the other sub – theme should be maintained. The tone and coherence of speech must be uniform throughout.
5. Memorising the speech or it's key points
Many beginners say that memorising the whole speech is a good option. Opinion is divided on this, but some speakers do feel calmer if they have the speech memorised. If you are choosing to memorise a speech, it is absolutely essential to practice it till it becomes second nature and you have truly committed it to memory. Once memorisation is done, it's possible to focus on delivery. However, if you choose not to go for memorisation – that's fine too. Even if you don’t memorise the whole speech, remembering the key points is absolutely essential.
6. Delivery of speech with dignity and grace is the heart of Public Speaking
Before speaking you must see that your attire suits the occasion. Proper posture must be maintained. Keeping an eye contact and looking towards the audience is must, you should always finish with a distinct conclusion, so that audience feels they have earned a solid takeaway for taking the trouble of listening to you. Adding sparkle to your speech by inserting humour and a smiling relaxed posture will pay you rich dividends.
A quick way of building your speaking or presentation skills is to attend corporate training or soft skills workshops on Presentation Skills by companies like Ripples Learning.
Of course, you might be so passionate about speaking, presenting and training that you might even consider a career in it. If so, find out about our Certification Program for trainers – CLDP here.
If you are considering a program on Presentation or Speaking Skills for your employees or team-members, you can write to Ripples at firstname.lastname@example.org