For many people, there is nothing more terrifying than speaking in front of an audience. There is something about standing before a group of people which makes basic communication feel that much more difficult. In a one-on-one conversation, the problems are minimal. There is only one person listening and only one person critiquing what we say. In addition, we can watch their reactions and alter our speech accordingly. When we speak in front of a group however, the problems are multiplied and we no longer have the ability to adjust our speech based on the reactions of just one individual. This creates a feeling of exposure and vulnerability, and can be quite uncomfortable for those who are not prepared for it.
While some people are born with a natural gift for public speaking, most are not. Unfortunately for those of us who are not, it is a skill which has numerous and invaluable applications. Whether it’s for a work function, a birthday celebration, or a wedding, you never know when you may be asked to say a few words. Luckily, public speaking is a skill with a simple formula. It requires preparation and a good delivery. A proficient speaker is someone who gives excellent consideration to both elements.
Preparation is absolutely essential to the giving of a good speech. While many speeches may seem impromptu, they are never done without a decent amount of groundwork. The aim is to have all the content organised as early as possible to allow adequate time to work on your delivery.
There are different ways to prepare for a speech. You can read it, memorise it, or learn the key points to be elaborated on as you go. Whatever approach you choose is fine, as long as it flows and sounds natural... more
As any accomplished speaker will tell you, it has less to do with what you’re saying, and more to do with how you’re saying it. The worst speech presented confidently will always be more effective than a good speech presented poorly.
When speaking in front of others, take your time and relax. Make eye contact with individual members of your audience and pretend you’re having nothing more than a number of one-on-one conversations. If you see people who look bored or disinterested, ignore them. No matter how good your speech is you will never be able to please everyone... more