Public speaking is simply the act of talking in front of a group of people. The group can be quite small or impressively large. In either case, many individuals find the process to be overwhelming.
Speaking in public is an art. Effective presentations require clear delivery that includes proper inflection, pauses and emphasis. Some people seem to have the knack for oral presentation while others struggle with this type of activity.
Natural talent does help. However, effective public speaking can be achieved with research and diligent practice. The art of oral presentation is one that can be mastered with the right methods and persistence.
This form of communication is also a science. An oral presentation is most effective when it is well structured and purposeful. Those who take a scientific approach that involves a methodical system can do as well as ones who are accidentally talented.
Oral presentations serve a number of purposes. They can entertain. They can be used to influence others and they can simply be informative. The purpose of the talk will have great bearing on how the speaker will organize his thoughts, information and emotive components.
FIVE ELEMENTS OF SPEAKING IN PUBLIC
It is said that people wear different masks for different occasions. We change our mannerisms in various environments. When speaking in public, there are some considerations that need to be made in order to plan the presentation well.
The first element of public speaking is the person delivering the lecture. The speaker should carefully consider how he wants to be perceived by the audience. The beauty of this type of venture is that you can create a persona that suits your presentation.
The second element is the message. It is important to consider the information you are presenting. The content is of immense value for any oral presentation. Well organized subject matter is an integral part of a successful public speaking event.
The method is the third element to consider. Where will the speech be delivered? What prompt will be used? Will there be visual and sound aids? Is the presentation in a formal setting, a conference room or a casual setting? The final element concerns the purpose of the presentation. Is it designed to inform? Is there an entertainment value to the piece? Is the presentation supposed to motivate and influence the audience?
BRIEF HISTORY OF PUBLIC SPEAKING
The art and science of speaking in public is deeply rooted in civilizations across the globe. The spoken word is of great value and it has been for centuries. This fundamental mode of communication has helped mankind progress through the ages.
Before writing was incorporated as a method of communicating, oral presentations were of the utmost importance. Many valuable written works were committed to memory and recited over and over again for audiences to enjoy.
Poetry evolved as a necessary method of effective memorization. Those who created oral presentations and stories would rhyme the words in order to make them easier to memorize. This useful literary device has persevered over time into an art form of its own.
The spoken word was of great influence on various civilizations over time. Public discourse, debate and discussions had a profound effect in nearly every aspect of life. Religion, politics and entertainment are just a few examples of venues that relied on oral presentations.
PUBLIC SPEAKING TODAY
Today, public speaking remains a driving force in many different realms of our daily lives. Oral presentations continue to inform, influence and entertain us. We rely on spoken words in our most fundamental dealings with family members and as a mode of connecting with one another on a global level.
The advancements of technology have given rise to effective communication on a grand scale. Word-of-mouth previously took days, months or even years to travel effectively. Technology provides ways of spreading spoken language across the globe in an instant.
With some of today’s public speaking venues, like videoconferencing, the speaker can deliver a presentation to hundreds or even thousands of people without facing the audience at all. Telecommunications has paved the way for effective communication to the masses with little or no contact.
Something does get lost in the process. The audience can be a very valuable tool in an oral presentation. The loss of this advantageous resource can leave some speakers at a loss. Others may find the prospect of speaking to a camera preferable to speaking to a live audience.
OCCASIONS AND EVENTS
The delivery of your message can be completed via telecommunications. You may find yourself staring into a blank lens that offers no feedback. Other occasions may call for you to create a stellar oral presentation to a handful of co-workers.
Some events may call on your ability to inform the audience. You concise informative speech may be designed to covey an important message about safety issues in the workplace. You may be in charge of influencing a number of people to vote on a certain issue.
Other events are more personal. Maybe you need to deliver an unforgettable speech at your best friend’s wedding. You may simply want to hone your skills in order to effectively convey your thoughts to friends, loved ones and associates on a day-to-day basis.