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Being a powerful and an effective speaker is a necessity in practically every profession. A good speaker is a valuable manpower resource in any business organization. It is usually a powerful speaker who leads a team, or a project or a company. Whichever organization a person belongs to, whatever be his area of responsibility, he will be required to speak to his colleagues, his boss, his clients or make a presentation, address a group of people, make a speech .As the career of an employee progresses, the technical skills become less important and the employee has to rely more on being able to sell his plans by presenting his ideas effectively to the next level of management. Failure to do so will have an adverse effect on the employee's reputation, his future growth prospects in his career as well as the reputation of the organization. Fortunately speaking is a skill which can be learnt, studied, polished and enhanced by regular hard work and persistence.
Every individual will be required to explain his ideas, present reports, convince or persuade others, inform others and carry out various such activities at some point of time or the other. Speaking in front of a group of people is the biggest cause of nervousness for most people.
Speaking to a group of people in a structured, deliberate manner in order to inform, influence, or entertain the listeners requires a lot of practice.
The fear of public speaking causes, headaches, nausea and sweaty palms. People often get stressed out just by anticipating the moment of addressing a group of people. However a speaker's 'speaking nerves' may be used to make his speech exciting. Visualizing success is an effective method for easing a speaker's nerves. It is important for a speaker to accept that he might make some sort of mistake like stumbling upon a word, losing his train of thought, etc. while speaking but this shouldn't affect his 'nerves'. It happens with every speaker but if we notice carefully no one generally cares. The speaker simply goes back to whatever he was saying and everything is fine. Deep breathing exercises before public speaking is an effective way to control 'nerves'.
In an organization good speaking skills are of utmost importance as employees will need to influence important decisions, make sales presentations, present a proposals, present or defend a viewpoint, attract media and public attention, establish an image, dispel rumors, present findings before a committee and numerous such contexts which would require the employee to present his ideas clearly and effectively to the audience. However, very few people are born speakers. But with a little planning, preparation and practice everybody can enhance his speaking skills to a great extent.
There are five basic elements pertaining to speaking, depending on "who is saying what to whom using what medium with what effects?" Speaking can be a powerful tool to motivate, influence, persuade, inform, translate, entertain, and produce better results. There are four major stages that are to be kept in mind while speaking to a group of people.
-Deciding the purpose and objectives for speaking
-selecting a topic and acquiring the required knowledge about the topic
-Analyzing the audience
- An attention grabbing introduction
- Main points, sub points, supporting information, comprising the body
- Summarizing and discussing the effects
- Practicing repeatedly in front of the mirror or friends
-Keeping the content short and simple.
- Taking care of body- language eye contact, facial expression
- Avoiding getting into arguments if someone disagrees.
- Emphasizing verbal as well as non-verbal aspects like Gestures, postures, Eye contact and dressing appropriately
-Avoiding use of jargons
-Correct articulation of sounds
-Maintaining appropriate volume, pleasant tone and appropriate pitch and inserting pauses
When addressing a group of people, one has to select a particular mode of delivery. One may chose either a particular mode or a combination of modes. Deciding on the mode of delivery beforehand will help the speaker in his planning and preparation stage. Four modes have been discussed below:
When a person speaks without any prior preparation it is known as impromptu delivery. A speaker has to be really competent to make an impromptu delivery. If done properly, impromptu deliveries are extremely effective and leave the audience impressed. If one has little time to prepare, he will be forced to use an impromptu mode. Impromptu speaking happens when one has no time for preparation and planning. Impromptu mode is not appropriate if one has to convey a critical message.
Speaking from memory involves delivering a manuscript without looking at notes. A common reason for memorizing a presentation is that the speaker plans to deliver the speech several times (for example in a sales promotion). Speakers frequently memorize short, formal speeches such as toasts, and acceptance speeches. Long silences due to memory lapses may prove to be embarrassing for the speaker as well as the audience Speakers who are fighting to remember the exact wording of their speeches seldom have a favorable or desired effect on the audience.
For most speaking situations the extemporaneous mode is the most suitable.
In this mode one memorizes ideas and not specific words. The speaker carries a note which contains the introduction, conclusion and key to transitions with some examples.
In extemporaneous delivery it is easier to sound natural and confident. One can also respond to the audience more spontaneously and naturally and can also adapt to any changes in the situation.
In this type of delivery, the content is fully written out and delivered word-for-word, one is speaking from manuscript. Speaking from the manuscript may be considered an appropriate method of instruction and delivery where the speaker must be careful of what he or she is speaking. During strict time limits the speaker uses the manuscripts, as such in hearing or on television. The speaker should read the instructions from the manuscript and convincingly enhance its meaning. The speaker should be able to maintain eye contact and have appropriate gestures in a free manner. The speaker should write the manuscript in effective oral, not written, style.
To be an effective speaker, remembering the following guidelines will be helpful:
Using Appropriate Body language: Using appropriate gestures, pleasant facial expressions, postures etc while speaking is crucial as almost 70% of the content is communicated non-verbally.
Speaking with conviction : It is important for the speaker to be convinced about what he is saying if he wants to have an impact on his listeners
Avoiding reading from notes: Reading out from hand written notes does not have a positive impact on the listener as it does not add to the speaker's credibility.
Preparing thoroughly: One of the ways to feel more confident before addressing a group of people is to be thoroughly prepared. It is good to have a thorough and easy-to-read outline to follow in such occasions.
Maintaining eye contact: Maintaining proper eye-contact with the listeners is important as it makes the audience believe in the speaker and what he is saying. It adds to the speaker's credibility.
Vocal Elements: Adjusting the volume, pitch, rate of delivery, pauses; good, pronunciation etc are very important aspects of effective speaking. Pitch should be optimal, volume should be adequate, delivery should not be fast, articulation should be clear, pauses should be inserted appropriately, and vocalized pauses are to be avoided, to make speech impressive.
Speaking with passion, enthusiasm and sincerity: Good preparation will lead to passion. The more the speaker knows about the subject, the stronger will be his position and more passionate and convincing will be his delivery.
Projecting confidence: It is important to act and project confidence. If the speaker projects confidence, the audience will be more convinced and the desired goal of the speaker will be achieved.
Being focused: By being focused on the main objective a speaker will achieve success and will be able to influence his audience the way he desires.
Listening, responding to the audience: Listening to the audience is very important. To question, paraphrase, check understanding of the listener is important.
Pausing: Pausing at the right places , to emphasize or clarify meaning is very important to be an effective speaker.
Using humor: Wit and humour always appeals to a listener but one has to be very careful as at times humour might offend a listener.
Using appropriate Audio-visual aids: Using slides, objects, models, diagrams, tables, graphs, flow charts etc to supplement the speaker's content will have to be chosen carefully.
In public speaking, as in any form of communication, there are five basic elements, often expressed as "who is saying what to whom using what medium with what effects?" The purpose of public speaking can range from simply transmitting information, to motivating people to act, to simply telling a story. Good orators should be able to change the emotions of their listeners, not just inform them. Public speaking can also be considered a discourse community. Interpersonal communication and public speaking have several components that embrace such things as motivational speaking, leadership/personal development, business, customer service, large group communication, and mass communication. Public speaking can be a powerful tool to use for purposes such as motivation, influence, persuasion, informing, translation, or simply entertaining.
Every audience is different. Don't give the same speech in the exact same way for every audience. The repetition in the speech can create monotony and make the speech ineffective. Analyze the audience because you want to connect with them, get your message across, and get a particular result.
While giving a speech ,Analyze these areas before preparing your speech:
Size of audience
Experience level(in their jobs, in an industry)
Diversity (cultural background)
Decision-making roles (who makes the decision, who influences)
Expectations (what do they expect to gain from your talk)
Attitudes (toward you, the topic. Are they friendly or hostile?)
Your emotions which are unconscious are first conveyed through the body. The body gestures are an important element in speaking. One should be very careful with gestures.The language of confidence which begins by how you hold yourself.
Weak body language includes:
Crossing one leg in front of the other
Slumping in your seat
Pacing back and forth
Looking down at the floor
Clasping your hands
Arms folded in front of you may look defensive.
Strong body language
Weight evenly distributed
Focused movement. Walk, stop, and talk. Make your point and then move on to another spot in the room.
Expansive, open, above the waist gestures
Your opening grabs attention and interest in your topic. Your closing is a way of reinforcing the message and must also be memorable. People will remember the last thing that they hear. Here are some ways to close a speech:
Tell a story. When you end with a story, be sure it supports your main message. Stories are a good way to regain attention.
Recite a poem. Some speakers have a signature poem that they use to end every speech.
Quote someone. You can find quotes in the Bible, Readers' Digest, recent trade magazines or Bartlett's Quotations. A simple quote has more impact than a lengthy summary.
Summarize your main points. A good summary should recap the major ideas in your speech so that latecomers can get the essence of the longer speech.
End with a visual aid. After some closing remarks you can project an image, picture, or cartoon on a slide. It can remain on the screen so the audience continues to receive the visual message.
Bring back the beginning. You can reference your opening and tie it together. Think about a movie flashback. It's a method for keeping the audience with you until the end.
Play music. This can be an uplifting way to end, especially if your intention is to motivate. Music is great for teambuilding and sales meetings. Check for copyright permission. If this is a paid speech or a professional conference you will need copyright permission to play popular music.
Dynamic Delivery Techniques
As a presenter you are sending a visual, vocal, and verbal message.
To make your delivery dynamic it's essential that the body language, voice, and words are saying the same thing. In other words, be a congruent communicator. Dynamic presenters channel their energy through their hands and body. They use the space effectively and work the room, moving closer to the audience to create intimacy and moving back when being more formal.
Voice is an important component of dynamic delivery. Project your voice to the back of the room and use your breath to create resonance in the voice.
Now pull back and speak softly for effect. To be dynamic, use vocal variety and pause. A long pause at the end of a sentence creates a dramatic effect. Get excited and passionate. Never allow your voice to be monotone. Look at the audience and really connect with one person at a time. The key to being dynamic is E.N.E.R.G.Y.:
Yearn to give your best.
The two most important concepts are balance and duration.
Include all sides of the room and focus your eyes long enough to make a point.
One should divide the group and find interesting people who have a smiling face. Don't focus on a negative facial expression because that will shatter your confidence.
In larger audiences, One must be able to connect through eyes and attention seekers should be motivated .We connect through the eyes and this is how you form a relationship with the group.
Fear of Speaking:-
Good speakers get nervous but they have learned to channel their energy outward through hand gestures, focused body movement, and a powerful vocal projection.
There are different methods in which one can overcome their nervousness:
Breathe deeply - When we're anxious we stop our breath. Power breathing comes from the diaphragm or lower abdomen. Put your hand on your abdomen and take in air.
Feel the belly expand. Do this to the count of ten and your body will feel more relaxed.
Visualize success - Have an eye contact with the audience. See the smiling faces, hear the thunderous applause, feel the confidence. This is your mental rehearsal. Visualization is a powerful technique used by professional athletes to achieve peak performance. Remember fear begins and ends in the mind.
Meditate - Focus on your breath. Count to ten and clear your mind. Listen to some music that will take you into a relaxed state. A few minutes of meditation will take you out of yourself and will calm your nerves.
Rehearsal - There is no substitute for rehearsal. Speaking success is 90% preparation and 10% delivery. Go over your notes and say the entire presentation out loud. Time yourself. Feel how it flows. Get to the meeting an hour early and practice out loud in the actual room. Practice builds confidence.
Meet the audience first - You'll feel less nervous if you greet audience members and chat briefly before your talk. Remember a few names and quote something they said. You'll feel like you're among friends.
Watch your diet - Avoid caffeine, sugar, milk products and alcohol. Caffeine and sugar will make you jittery. Milk products create mucous and could cause throat clearing. Alcohol will relax you but you might have regrets later. You'll want to be alert and on your toes.
One must be careful with ones gestures while speaking. A common myth about public speaking is that you shouldn't speak with your hands. Nothing could be further than the truth. Most of us express ourselves in conversation by using some hand movement. Imagine telling a story and not being able to move your hands. The amount of hand movement will be determined by your culture. Keep your gestures high and above the waist. Hands that are below the waist will make you look tentative. You can count off several items on your fingers. Try and create pictures with your hands. Practice using gestures by showing these concepts with your hands: narrow/wide, tall/short, little/big, open/close, right/left, behind/in front. For a large stage, use wide, sweeping gestures. They will feel exaggerated to you but will look good to the audience. For small board rooms use gestures closer to your body. Gestures release nervous energy, and will make you look dynamic and confident.
A handout is a visual aid. They are most commonly used at meetings but you may distribute handouts at large conferences. Do you give your handouts before, during, or after the presentation? The answer is: it depends.
Before - For large conferences give theme copy of your PowerPoint presentation beforehand so they can take notes and follow along.
During - Are you going to have a working session? You may want to distribute papers at the point in the meeting when you'll be using the working document.
After - The rule of thumb is to give handouts at the end of the presentation if they contain a lot of information. You don't want people flipping through the pages.
Be sure to put your contact information at the bottom of every page. It's also a good idea to include resources - websites, associations, and reference materials on the handouts to add greater value.
In every informational talk, there is an element of persuasion. In other words, why should they listen to you? Just because you have a captive audience, doesn't mean you don't have to influence.
The first step in creating an informative talk is to have a clear focus. Is your purpose to teach? Then the focus will be skill-building. The audience should be able to do something after the presentation.
Is your message strictly informational? The audience needs to know something after hearing your presentation. The keyword is data.
One effective way to build your presentation is mind mapping.
To structure an informational talk, remember the three T's:
Tell them what you're going to tell them.
Tell them what you've already told them.
Begin with a purpose statement. Follow with a three point agenda. Develop each of the three points with examples. Summarize your main points and leave them with an action step or food for thought.
It's important to understand the difference between a keynote and a general session. A general session is at topic that is given to the entire audience at the conference.
A keynote is given to all the conference participants, too. But you must hit the "key" note or theme of the conference. So if the theme is Leading Innovation, your topic must somehow play off that subject.
Examples: Leading Innovation through technology. From Sales Management to Leading Innovation. There are usually three spots for a keynote speaker: opening keynote, luncheon keynote and closing keynote.
The opening keynote speaker sets the tone for the meeting and the closing keynote draws from the main points and happenings from the conference.
Keynotes and general sessions are delivered from the perspective of big picture ideas and themes and should focus on the why rather than the how.
The purpose of a lectern is to hold your notes. Most people prefer to hide behind the lectern. When you must use a lectern or podium:
Be sure to organize your notes so you can easily reference them.
Begin and end your presentation by stepping out or to the side of the lectern.
Bring your hands up high so that the audience can see your gestures.
Push your energy so that the lectern is not a barrier.
In motivational speaking persuasive talk is the most important aspect that inspires, move emotions and entertain the listener. It is the duty of the speaker to incorporate innovative methods that would inspire the listener to take up the discussion at a different level. One should begin with an icebreaking session to warm up the audience for the concentrated discussion. That one must begin with a humor or a story or an anecdote. One should inform the audience about the objectives and develop each point with an example that inspires everyone.
Opt for 5-inch by 7-inch cards.
Type or print legibly using large block letters - it's embarrassing when you can't read your notes!
Underline key words to add emphasis, but don't write a script. This is an outline.
Practice with your note cards out loud.
If you don't have a lectern, use sheets of 8 1/2-inch by 11-inch paper and staple them to colored construction paper to match your attire. The cards will blend in with your clothes, giving you a more finished look.
Manuscripts are difficult to master, but are sometimes necessary. Speakers think it's easier to have every word written down, but a manuscript simply serve as a crutch. It is important that speakers to understand the significance of keynotes, as with them speakers often lose their place. They loose eye contact with the audience and also loose concentration with what they are speaking. Here's how to make the manuscript work for you:
Organize carefully and number each page in the upper right-hand corner.
Make it reader-friendly. Leave a lot of white space and use a large font.
Keep it lose. Don't staple your manuscript or you will be noisily flipping pages.
Mark it up. Use slashes to indicate pauses - one for a short pause, two for a more dramatic pause.
Make margin notes.
Use strong eye contact.
The opening in any public speaking is important as it creates an impression on the listener. The opening and closing attracts the attention of the audience and sets the motion for a successful discussion.
In the beginning One must give a statement that creates a surprise and establish the seriousness in the audience. Also it creates a rapport with the audience and establishes the credibility of the speaker. Next step is to point out the points that create important details in the content with the supporting ideas. The content should be such that regains composure of the speaker and would clearly outline the crux of the topic discussed. Humor should be incorporated in the content or by the speaker when required. Unnecessary statements should not be included so that topic is not diverted. The purpose statement is important in any speech as audience's attention is gained through the opening statement. The speaker should be able to establish themselves as a leader in the speech. In the end the speaker should be able to conclude their speech with a memorable quote or an inspiring statement that motivates the listener.
The speaker should be able to ask questions to the audience in order to revise the topic and recapitulate the supporting ideas. Quotes should be given appropriately in the content spoken by the speaker. The speaker should emphasize on the point by giving quotes in order to make their speech an impressive one. Personal Experience and Anecdotes should also be used in the content as when required, and not include statements that may be controversial and create disharmony.
In order to be persuasive one must keep few guidelines that not only attract the attention of the audience but also establishes the credibility of the speaker. To be persuasive you must begin with the listeners in mind. In order to convince the audience one must know the techniques of expressing the views and also outlines crux of the speech. In order to capture the attention one must focus on the aspect of presentation and bring out innovative ways and give captivating phrases that leaves impression in the mind of the listener.
Even if your speech is strictly informative, it still includes an element of persuasion. It's your job to convince the audience that the information you're presenting is important to them.
Before you can be persuasive, you must study your audience. You have to think about what is important to the listeners. Once you understand your listeners and know what's important to them, you can present your information from their point of view. You'll be more effective in persuading listeners if you also truly believe what you're saying.
The elements of persuasion are as follows:
Speaking to listeners' needs
Important things last
Call to action
Word pictures, metaphors, analogies, onomatopoeia
The Language of Persuasion
In addition to elements of persuasion, there is a special language of persuasion that increases your ability to sell your ideas. That language is the power of the spoken word.
Effective verbal techniques include:
Using power words
Using strong words
Word pictures, metaphors, analogies, onomatopoeia
Replacing non-words with phrases
When questions are not forthcoming, plan how you'll get the ball rolling for Q&A. Here are some options:
Ask the first question yourself - "A question that frequently comes up is â€¦"
Use humor "Either I was extremely thorough or completely confusing."
Plant someone in the audience to ask the first question.
Distribute index cards at the beginning of your speech and ask them to write their questions.
Before you give your speech be sure to find out the room configuration. When possible, choose the room set-up that will best serve your purpose.
The common room arrangements are as follows:
For large conferences and keynote speaking the most popular room set-up is theater style. This is the most formal and can accommodate the most people.
For board room and executive meetings, conference style works fine.
When giving seminars and workshops, classroom style will provide the audience with desks or tables for taking notes.
Story telling helps the speaker to create the bond with the audience. If one relates its topic with a story, it becomes more convincing and convenient for the listener to understand the topic. Personal stories help you create a bond with your audience. If you're addressing a small group the speaker gains more credibility with the listener.
The audio visual aids in a presentation and plays an important role establishing the main and supporting points in a convincing manner. It has been proved through the Studies by 3M, the Wharton School, and the University of Michigan all say that listener retention increases 70-85% when you use visual aids in your presentation. People will remember 20% of what they hear, and 70% of what they hear and see.
When we use audio visual aids one must consider following points in developing visual aids for your presentation:
K.I.S.S. - keep it short and simple when developing slides
K.I.L.L. - keep it large and legible. The print must be large enough to be seen from the back of the room.
Position charts horizontally
Choose the visual aid that is most appropriate for the audience and venue.
When using PowerPoint, use lots of white space with no more than two types of fonts. Choose a background color that contrasts with the text. Use a dark background with light text. Yellow and white reflect light the best. Or use dark print on a light background. Don't use red text. It fatigues the eyes and makes it difficult to read.
And don't overdo the number of slides. For a 25 minute presentation use no more than 20 slides.
Use of Voice
Good voice is an obvious requirement of good speaking. Like physical movements, the voice should not hinder the listener's concentration on the message. More specifically, it should not detract attention from the message.
Voices that cause such difficulties generally fall into these areas of fault: (1) lack of pitch variation, (2) lack of variation in speed, (3) lack of vocal emphasis, and (4) unpleasant voice quality.
Lack of Pitch Variation
Speakers who talk in monotones are not likely to hold the interest of their listeners for long. Since most voices are capable of wide variations in pitch, the problem usually can be corrected. The failure to vary pitch generally is a matter of habit - of voice patterns developed over years of talking without being aware of their effect.
Lack of variation in speaking
Determining how fast to talk is a major problem. As a general rule, one should present the easy parts of a message at a fairly fast rate and the hard parts and the parts that are to be emphasized at a slower rate.
A slow speech of easy information is irritating; hard information presented fast may be difficult to understand.
A problem related to the pace of speaking is the incorrect use of pauses. Properly used, pauses emphasize upcoming subject matter and are effective means of gaining attention. But frequent pauses for no reason are irritating and break the listener's concentration. Pauses become even more irritating when the speaker fills them in with distracting non-words such as uh, you know, and OK.
Lack of Vocal emphasis
A secret to good speaking is to give words their proper emphasis by varying the manner of speaking.
This can be done by
(1) Varying the pitch of your voice, (2) Varying the pace of your presentation, and (3) Varying the volume of your voice.
One can overcome any of the foregoing voice faults or fear of public speaking through self-analysis. One of the best ways to improve speaking skills is through watching others like instructors, peers, television personnel, professional speakers, and anyone else who inspires.
Analyze these speakers to determine what works for them and what does not.
Follow those good techniques that can be helpful and avoid the bad ones.
Take advantage of any opportunity one gets to practice speaking.
Prepare thoroughly in order to develop confidence.
Never memorize a speech as that might affect the spontaneity.
Public speaking can be an enjoyable task if approached with due care and adequate preparation.
Zen of Speaking
Good presenters are like good bloggers - both speak "in a human voice." Those who speak in a human voice are not afraid to show some emotion. Good presenters emphasize logic, reasoning, and evidence, but they never forget that both they and their audience members are emotional beings.
Let's take a look at the former US President Bill Clinton. There is no denying that he is one of the most gifted communicators in the world. There are many reasons why Mr. Clinton is so effective in speeches. Some of the characteristics that make him so successful are his confidence, his appealing, human style presentation of plain logic and support, and his evident storytelling skills such as providing obvious examples and drawing pictures with his words In other words, be here now. Be aware of your breath. Be aware of the audience. If you're thinking about your nervousness, or what you're going to say next, you are not truly present. Your "presence" is your present to the audience. Be real, experience the moment, and allow yourself to go off message if the moment presents itself. Be here now.
Determination of the Speech Method
Extemporaneous speech is by far the most popular and effective method. In this method, the speech is thoroughly designed. Notes can also be made and then the speech is slightly rehearsed. One has to make sure that one has all the parts clearly in mind, but there is no need to memorize.
Extemporaneous speeches generally sound natural to the listeners, yet they are (or should be) the product of careful planning and practice.
The most difficult method is memorizing. Most people find it hard to memorize a long succession of words. And when they do memorize, they are likely to memorize words rather than meanings. Thus, when one actually makes the speech, and by chance misses a word it results in confusion and panic.
The third method of Speech delivery is reading. Unfortunately, most of us tend to read aloud in a dull monotone. We also miss punctuation marks, fumble over words, and lose our place, and so on.
In most setting, it is a breach of etiquette to read and it is not considered an ideal method of speech delivery.
Mantra: Practice, Practice, Practice and Perform!
Why is it important to enhance speaking skills?
Discuss the four stages that are to be kept in mind to improve your speaking skills?
Have you ever experienced 'stage fright' or speaker's nerves'? Discuss your experiences with your friends
Imagine that you are the CEO of a company manufacturing mobile phones. How will you communicate the company's expansion plans to the financer?
What are the positive and negative aspects of your speaking skills? How will you work on the negative aspects of your speaking skills?
Discuss 4P's incorporated for an effective speaking.
In detail analyze different kinds of barriers one faces while speaking on a stage. How can you remove the same?
Discuss the importance of Nonverbal communication in speaking.
Analyze different types of speaking style or mode of delivery. Which one is the best mode according to you?
How do audio visual aids enhance one's speaking? Explain in detail giving an appropriate example.
Analyze the role of audience in public speaking.