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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.

"There are three things to aim at in Public speaking: first, to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself and lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your audience"
One of our greatest fears is that of speaking in public. To stand before a group and be required to give remarks terrifies many of us. However, public speaking is a skill that most people have to conquer to be successful, and one that is required in most jobs in one form or another. One way to help calm the nerves and prepare for success in public speaking is to properly prepare for the speech. This means that items such as audience analysis, considering a purpose and topic, preparing the major components of the speech (introduction, main point, organization, and conclusion), and referencing resources must be addressed.
"The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public."
The primary difference between a poor speech and a good one is in its delivery. The real challenge of public speaking is the actual presentation of the speech. Proper delivery techniques should be used to successfully communicate the substance of the speech to the audience. Nonverbal communication accounts for approximately 93% of the communication process. Essentially this means that how the presentation is delivered is more important than what is said. To present a speech effectively, the following skills should be developed: overcoming nerves, developing stage presence, refining vocal qualities, maximizing power of expression, making eye contact, and using presentation aids.
"Public speaking is the art of diluting a two-minute idea with a two-hour vocabulary."
1. Overcoming Nerves 
Overcoming nerves is an important step to help a speaker effectively deliver his or her speech. Being a little nervous is good. It encourages the speaker to practice and focus on the speech. On the other hand, being too nervous will negatively impact the delivery. Having confidence in oneself will help overcome the nervous feeling.
2. Audience Analysis
 Questions to assist in analyzing the audience include the following:
  • Who exactly is my audience?
  • What is the size of my audience?
  • What are the demographics of my audience? (age, gender, race, ethnicity, educational background, beliefs, etc.)
  • What are the interests, backgrounds, and knowledge levels of my audience?
  • What is the purpose of my audience? What do they want to get from this presentation?
3. Considering Purpose and Topic
 When choosing a topic, the speaker should consider the audience analysis, the general purpose of the speech, his or her own knowledge and interests, and any guidelines that may have been given. You can consider the following questions
when selecting a topic:
  • Is the subject suited for my purpose?
  • Is the subject interesting to me?
  • Am I qualified to speak on the subject?
  • Will my audience find this subject interesting?
  • Will my audience find this subject useful?
  • Is the subject sufficiently narrow?
4. Stage Presence

 Stage presence refers to the ability of the speaker to acquire and keep the audience's attention through his or her presentation style. When in front of an audience, the speaker's poise, posture, gestures, and movements can significantly add to or take away from the presentation. The goal is to control these aspects of delivery so they reinforce the message rather than distract the audience.
5. Vocal Qualities
"Talk low, talk slow, and don't talk too much."

 A speaker's voice itself can communicate much to the audience. The proper use of volume, enunciation, and tone can ensure that the audience can hear, understand, and internalize what the speaker is saying. In addition, these aspects of delivery can contribute to the enjoyment of the audience. The speaker should ensure that vocal variety is used when giving a speech. The volume and tone should be fluctuated to reinforce what is said or
to emphasize important information.
6. Power of Expression
"Words have incredible power.
They can make people's hearts soar,
or they can make people's hearts sore."
 When delivering a presentation, it is the speaker's job to convey the message clearly and powerfully. Many speaking aspects contribute to the ability to express ideas. Stage presence and voice qualities will contribute to the expression of the message, but the speaker also needs to consider the flow, filler words, enthusiasm, and facial expressions
7. Eye Contact
 Eye contact is an important aspect of speaking. However, it is also one of the aspects that beginning speakers struggle with the most. The first goal of delivering a speech should be to avoid reading the speech. Secondly, the speaker should look at the audience, not at the floor, walls, ceiling, and so forth.
8. Presentation Aids 
 Presentation aids should be utilized to reinforce the message of the speech. These aids can be any tangible audio or visual aid that helps to communicate the message to the audience.. When using presentation aids, follow these guidelines to ensure that you do not distract the audience:
  • Keep the visual hidden until the appropriate time.
  • Do not turn your back to the audience when using the presentation aid.
  • Ensure that all audience members can clearly hear or see the presentation aid.
  • Use the aid as an aid and not as a substitute to your presentation. 

Delivering an effective speech is the last challenge to conquer in effective presenting. The speaker needs to first overcome nerves. Secondly, the speaker should apply and practice effective delivery techniques in the areas of stage presence, voice qualities, power of expression, and eye contact. Finally the speaker should prepare presentation aids to assist in delivering a memorable message. The more practice and experience gained in delivering speeches, the more natural these techniques will become.

"Speech belongs half to the speaker, half to the listener. The latter must prepare to receive it according to the motion it takes."

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