Effective Public Speaking

Effective public speaking does not mean just being able to talk in front of an audience but that the speech should be coherent and meaningful. Just speaking for the sake of speaking leaves the audience unsatisfied and cannot be construed as effective speech. Effective speech is that which has an effect on the speaker as well as the audience, i.e., the speech elicits a response from the audience, which could be positive or negative, but preferably positive. However, a negative response does not always mean that the speech was ineffective. For example, a political speech will always have a negative response from the opposing party, but for the speaker and his party, the speech has been effective.

The tips for effective public speaking lie in the basic elements of public speaking:

Script the speech

A script should be prepared for every speech. Even though the speech will not be read out from the written script, it helps write down all the points, definitions, proverbs, etc., as a written script allows the speaker to review the flow and content of the speech.

Formation of the script

Just like in story writing, there is an introduction, plot, and climax; similarly, in a speech too, these elements must be present. Actually, a speech is a kind of a story as it has a narrator, a listener, and a topic.

  1. Introduction – The introduction is extremely important as it sets the topic and pace of the speech. The introduction must contain a salutation (greeting) to the audience, followed by the introduction to the contents of the speech. The introduction must give only an overview or glimpse of the content of the speech for the audience to flavour the main portion. Sometimes, it helps to start with a quotation, proverb, or joke (depending upon the type of speech and the audience) to kick-start the speech and quickly attain the attention of the audience.
  2. Body – The main part of the speech is referred to as the ‘body’. This must be further divided into sub-segments so that there is clarity and the speech is easily comprehendible. After each point has been stated, explained, and verified, a short pause helps before moving onto the next point.
  3. Climax – This portion is the high point and culmination of the speech. It is the part where emotions, feelings, and content peaks for both the audience and speaker. The climax is like a dessert whereby the taste should linger on even after the meal is over.
  4. Conclusion – The entire content of the speech has to be summarized in the conclusion with some firm thoughts left for pondering and for action if required.
Review the Script

An effective speech is effective so long as it bonds the speaker with the audience. In order to achieve that, a script must be reviewed several times to ensure that the language and tone is appropriate; and is such that the speaker can relate to the audience. The idea is to identify the topic of the speech with the emotions and thoughts of the audience to get an effective response. The speaker as well as others can review scripts in order to get an audience’s viewpoint.

Thus, by following the main elements of a speech, a speaker can ensure that his speech is wholesome in content and effective in delivery.

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