Public speaking

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Adolf Hitler speaking in 1932.

Public speaking is speaking to a group of people in an organized way: to give information, influence or persuade, or to entertain the listeners. They are considered as powerful and evocative tools of communication for goals such as motivation, influence, persuasion ("so what" thought), informing (avoid voice-over effect), translation, or simply entertainment. In public speaking there are three important factors and they are who is saying (ethos), to whom the speaker in saying (pathos) and what the speaker is saying (logos) through the choice of medium, a poor structure in content highlights poor logic for the audience.

The Ancient Greeks called public speaking rhetoric; the Romans called it oratory; it is also known as forensic speaking, or forensics. Propaganda is an another name for speech in favour or against some point of view. In George Orwell's words propaganda is a reflection of prejudices and beliefs that colors people's [or societies] aesthetic judgements. Often they are simply fallacies or conjectures.

Methods and techniques[change | change source]

Public speaking professionals often engage in ongoing training and education to continually refine their craft. Professional public speakers might educate themselves on skills like storytelling techniques or humor as a communication tool. Education can take place at professional conferences or by seeking guidance from other professionals, it can also occur by speakers relying on each others' experiences to learn from their mistakes and successes. However, using an another professionals' methods may not always work, because people have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, a public speaker who is strong at effectively using comedy might have more success adding a joke into a speech than one who is weak in that area. But openness for teachability and subsequent mirroring of skills might improve their own existing methods.

Bill Gates speaking at DFID

A speaker's guideline is given in TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking.[1] Their information include:

  • Consider fear and anxiety as a motivation force to ebb through circumstances with acceptance.
  • Try to make eye contact right from the start.
  • Breathe in and out meditatively to reduce the overwhelm.
  • Include humor to disarm the tension within the audience towards the subject. But no offensive jokes or corny puns.
  • Drinking water avoids mouth getting dry from adrenalin and avoiding an empty stomach reduces anxiety.
  • Keeping a coherence with topic and the content, a relatable language will make audience understandable. Avoid over-preparing and under-preparing.
  • Always try to have a good ending and don't commit to public speaking with the intend to meander, being authentic is what people respond to.
  • Keep a backup plan like notes or scripts if the presentation technology goes wrong.
  • It is better to avoid attempts to get applause, it can be quickly identified by the audience and would be aversive. "It is not about the speaker, but the idea the speaker is passionate about and it is to be on service of that idea."
  • Repress engaging the audience with any organizational history, highlight the good work the organization is doing and the power of the ideas and the change it is bringing forth.(Contextual)

Certain guidelines consider emotional aspect or pathos of public speaking important than a mechanical process, they deem a great public speaking comes from the heart. A speech is only effective if the speech is audience focused (based on the likes and dislikes) or if the audience requires to believe what the speaker argues, the speaker requires have to have a strong ethos, or credibility.[2] Establishing credibility in speech is crucial determiner in making an audience believe that the speaker is reliable and informed on the subject or theme of the speech. A theme is a concept or doctrine that is expressed, they are abstract in nature. To deliver the theme multiple Motifs are employed, an obvious element used in reoccurring manner for motivating a finite grasp in the audience.[3]

Models[change | change source]

Models in public speaking.

The 6 I model of credibility for public speaking are:

6 I's of Credibility
Ideation Be creative in presenting the idea
Information Bring out new and decision driving facts
Influence Be charismatic with show of confidence
Integrity Be authentic and build a trust through the first half of the session
Impact Identify and present a memorable delivery to root the message
Ignition Call out to action, if required (E.g. Funding, Social Action, Proselytisation ...etc.)

Values[change | change source]

Winston Churchill broadcasting in Quebec, 1943

Public speaking is considered as an practical art. In ancient Greece public speakers were called orators or rhetors, they were leaders and philosophers who influenced the people. They were strategic in using language to persuade people to achieve an effect. Meta-analysis of qualitative history lists certain life-stances or ethos that enabled them to create an effect, in the current professional speakers world they are known as the 12 "E" life stances.

12E Explanation
Examine Examine how is one's life process. (E.g. SWOT analysis, Johari window)
Exchange Let go of small conveniences as an exchange for greater good.
Exercise Exercise skills and widen the depth of information to address areas.
Express Express one's belief in their dream, through integrity in oration.
Expect Expect oppositions and failure.
Expose Expose one's way of working (ability in oration) and use opportunities for it.
Extract Extract and personalize every positive principles and knowledge.
Exclude Exclude negative thinking that opposes orator's ambition.
Exceed Exceed normal exceptions through review and restructuring.
Exhibit Exhibit confidence in your objective and areas of oration.
Explore Explore all possibilities and different fields of oration.
Extend Extend a helping hand to those in the field of oration.

References[change | change source]

  1. Anderson, Chris (3 May 2016). "TED Talks: The official TED guide to public speaking".
  2. Michal Choinski (2016). The Rhetoric of the Revival: The Language of the Great Awakening Preachers. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. pp. 18–23. ISBN 978-3-647-56023-6. 
  3. "Writing@CSU". Retrieved 2016-12-13. 

Further reading[change | change source]