Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was a great public speaker, having inborn public speaking skills. Though the statement holds truth, it nevertheless is a perfect example of exaggeration. Are those eyebrows rising? Lower them down for no person in the history had or will have 'inborn' public speaking skills. It is an art that can be learned with constant effort and systematic approach. No doubt Jawaharlal Nehru was amongst the greatest public speakers that the world had witnessed, but he too had developed his skills with long experience and practice. His famous “Dawn of Independence” speech is still one of the best speeches in the world. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln are few other great names, who are known for their great oratory skills and eloquence that would leave listeners enthralled. The whole nation would sweep on to the streets to listen to their speeches. Such was the power that their words had the power to motivate millions of people. Public speaking is an art and like any other art have some basic rules and guidelines to follow. Anyone can learn and master this skill with hard work and practice. Here are various things one needs to learn before mastering the art of public speaking.
Art Of Public Speaking
What is the difference between a good speaker and a great speaker? While a good speaker has a fair bit of knowledge about the topic, a great speaker indulges in ample research to make himself well versed with the intricacies and minute detailing of the subject in question. Having a good knowledge of the topic makes the speaker confident and ready for any unexpected questions.
Emphasizing & Focusing
Great speakers help their audiences in focusing on the message of the speech. They have the habit of using small anecdotes, humorous stories and jokes for connecting to the theme of the message. This they mainly indulge in to emphasize on the message without losing on the focus.
Clear & Concise
One of the very usual traits of a great speaker is that his speech is concise and free from any vague misleading facts. Great speakers believe in conveying their message loud and clear. For this, it is not necessary for the speech to be two pages long. A short and crisp speech which has detailed all the main pointers and sends across the message clearly is all what is needed.
Effective Use of Quotations & Metaphors
Effective use of metaphors is a common trait of eloquent speakers. They know that what the direct language could never convey can be easily said with the help of metaphors. Also using quotations, facts and statistics to complement the ideas in the speech is an excellent way to make the speech more effective. These help people to connect with the message.
Dynamic Body Language
You must have seen the impressive body language of famous leaders and politicians. They use their dynamism to captivate their audience. They move around the stage, sometimes walk through the audience, making maximum use of the space available to them. A good speaker is never stagnant. And even if he is, he would make use of his hands and eyes to stress on the message.
Vary Your Tone
Remember the concentration of people is very limited and monotone voice encourages loss of concentration. The speaker should use high and low pitches in his speech to keep his audience in the flow. Let your listeners feel the message as you vary your tone.
Connect with the Audience
While speaking, the best thing to do is make direct eye contact with as many people as possible. A speaker can make the whole communication interactive by asking questions. This way he will prevent them from dozing off. Interaction will help in establishing a friendly atmosphere between the speaker and the audience.
Dramatize your Ideas
A good speaker surely knows how to dramatize his ideas. He effectively changes his facial expressions according to the flow of the speech. He will smile on a joke or humorous comment, will remain firm while speaking something important and will be serious if talking about something sad or sentimental. Let the audience feel the theme of your message.
One very peculiar thing to note in the speech of an effective speaker is his appropriate use of pause and punctuation. Pause between two sentences helps the audience to think and also gives the speaker a time to analyze the reaction of the audience. Right use of punctuation in the sentences prevents the speech from getting banal.
Speaking with Conviction
Great speakers have the power of conviction and they make you believe on every word they are saying. Their words are based on strong facts and seldom deviate from the theme of their message. They use their conviction skills to persuade their audience.
Effective Use of Technology
If you are using slides or any other visual aids, try them as a medium not the message. Slides should only be used for showing graphs or statistics not for words as people have the ability of reading faster than listening. Overuse of technology makes the presentation or speech ineffective and people tend to forget it easily.
Remember, the beginning and the conclusion of a speech are the most important parts. Conclude your speech with an interesting remark or an appropriate punch line, which will leave your audience with a positive impression. Don’t ever present an open-end question to your audience as the conclusion as it would negate the whole value of your speech and make the audience return to the square one position that they were before the speech.
Now as you have learned the basic rules and guidelines of public speaking use them to master the art of public speaking. Best of Luck!