Have you ever listened to a boring speech? In other words, do you know how the clock hand can fail to tick when a boring person delivers a dull speech?
Speaking well in public is an art that takes a lot of skill. You may be endowed with a powerful voice, but that does not necessarily mean that you can be a good speaker.
I have ever listened to sermons and political speeches delivered by the so called ‘important persons’ but ended up picking nothing. Strong oscillating voices end up almost bursting people’s ear drums without delivering an informative phrase.
What is my point? Public speaking is an art that can be perfected by continual practice, drilling and training.
Training should be geared towards developing individual peculiarities and uniqueness. You cannot train to speak like the US President Barrack Obama. No. That is duplication if not imitation. Each person should develop his or her own unusual skills that can only be identified with him or her.
Standing on the dais, and speaking as if programmed, is no speaking. Rapid pacing and jumping on stage is also a zero.
There are a number of guidelines on public speaking. Key to becoming a good public speaker is speaking with conviction. This means speaking as if you believe in what you are saying. Persuade the audience effectively by developing your topic in a logical manner.
A good speech should have a good introduction, body and conclusion. The introduction is a very defining part of the speech. At this stage, you can win or lose the audience. Your body should also support your information and the conclusion should sum up everything in a very captivating way.
Body language is a very powerful statement to a listener. It is important to give a speech while standing, walking about the stage and using appropriate hand gestures. Facial expressions should match with the emotions created by different messages.
It is very wrong for one to speak while looking down or up the ceiling. Maintain eye contact with the audience. Using the three second method, look straight into the eyes of a person in the audience three seconds at a time.
Don’t talk like a machine; instead pause and allow yourself and the audience a little time to reflect and think. Pausing is very dramatic. It helps the audience to spring back from slumber and distraction.
Humour works well when it comes to keeping the audience lively and interested throughout your entire presentation. Treating people to occasional humour helps to ease tension and to relax the audience.
Rehearse your presentation adequately and have everything on your finger tips. This will keep you off from reading from notes all the time. However, infrequent glancing at notes is healthy.
Last, but not least, be informative. You must assess the needs of the audience and address them. However, powerfully a speech may be presented, if the audience does not learn from it, then it may be as good as a gong’s noise.
The author is the Director of Studies at Nu Vision High School, Kabuga