How to do Public speaking well

how to improve public speaking confidence and how public speaking differs from casual conversation
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Published Date:08-07-2017
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Successful Public Speaking Arina NikitinaSuccessful Public Speaking Introduction 1 Introduction 1.1 Public Speaking in the Business World “Nothing in life is more important than the ability to communicate effectively.” – Gerald R. Ford  Communications in its multiple forms pervades today’s business environment. With numerous job interviews, conference calls, meetings, product presentations, workshops, and public events, more and more leaders realize the importance of developing good interpersonal communication skills within their company. Yet the majority of executives and employees continue to neglect and overlook the use of public speaking, leaving the advancements and better career opportunities for those who take proactive steps to master the art of speaking in public. e t Th ruth is that you might have the best products or services, years of experience or an outstanding business idea, but if you do not communicate this to your target audiences, you are limiting your effectiveness. All too oen, t ft he very best and inspiring stories in organizations and companies go untold because of people’s reluctance to or fear of taking the stage. Whether your goal is to enhance your professional growth, take your business to the next level, or inspire, persuade and motivate other people to follow your lead, you will have to learn how to convey your ideas in front of a group of people in a clear, structured and captivating manner. However, becoming an effective public speaker does not have to turn into one of the necessary, yet unpleasant goals on your professional advancement list. e a Th rt of public speaking holds many practical benefits that go far beyond delivering a project presentation or holding a successful meeting. Developing your communication skills and learning to speak in public: • Opens up new opportunities for career advancement • Positions you as an authority • Sets you apart from your competition • Attracts the right customers to your business • Presents technical or business information effectively • Produces a faster sales cycle • Allows you to effectively market your business or promote your products to larger audiences • Improves internal communication • Helps you to easily assume leadership and train others • Increases employees’ productivity • Prepares you for spontaneous speaking challenges (e.g. delivering a speech at short notice) • Establishes greater credibility and helps your clients’ loyalty 8 Successful Public Speaking Introduction • Motivates and persuades other people to reach and attain professional goals • Makes you a desirable guest on local, regional and national conferences, seminars and public speaking events 1.2 Personal and Social Benefits of Public Speaking A series of psychological studies conducted at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, show that it takes people on average three to five seconds to form an impression about someone they meet for the first time. LJŵĂŬĞĐŽŶĐůƵƐŝŽŶƐƚŚĂƚƚŚĞŝǀĞLJŽƵĂŶĚƚŚĞƌĐĞŽƉůĞƉĞůůƉĞ,ŽǁǁĞĂďŽƵƚLJŽƵƌ ƉƌŽĨĞƐƐŝŽŶĂůŝƐŵĂŶĚĐŚĂƌĂĐƚĞƌǁŝůůďĞůĂƌŐĞůLJŝŶĨůƵĞŶĐĞĚďLJLJŽƵǁŚĞŶŶĐĞ͕ƌĐŽŶĨŝĚĞ ƉƌĞƐĞŶƚŝŶŐLJŽƵƌƐĞůĨ͘ Improving your ability to speak in front of others and learning to talk about who you are and what you do with natural grace and authenticity can go a long way in expanding your social circle, building strong relationships with successful, like-minded people and making new friends. Other personal benefits of public speaking include: • Increased self-confidence • Improved communication skills • Increased organizational skills • Greater social influence • Enhanced ability to listen • Greater possibility of meeting new people • Lesser anxiety and fear when speaking in front of others • Improved memory • Enhanced persuasion ability • Greater control over emotions and body language 9 Successful Public Speaking Evolution of Public Speaking 2 Evolution of Public Speaking 2.1 What is public speaking? Public speaking is a process, an act and an art of making a speech before an audience. Absolutely everyone from the age of 10 to 90 has found themselves in situations where they have had to speak publically. However, telling an anecdote at a corporate party, introducing yourself in class or delivering a paper at a conference does not necessarily make you a public speaker. It is not enough to talk in front of a group of people to be a brilliant public speaker. Your goal should not be limited with informing your audience or expressing your thoughts publically, but to changing emotions, actions, and attitudes, and to leaving your listeners moved by the words and touched by their meaning. “How to do it?” – has been a question many brilliant speakers have asked themselves. Many tips, techniques and rules have been elaborated on to find the best way to influence, motivate, entertain and persuade people. Some of these rules go back thousands of years, yet they have not lost their actuality and have been widely used by such world-known speakers as Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Jim Rohn and Anthony Robbins. But what are the main components and ‘golden rules’ of a great speech? How have they changed throughout history? 2.2 Three Parts of Persuasion by Aristotle. e a Th rt of speaking in public is not new. Its long tradition can be traced back to Classical Greece (approximately 490-322 BC). Any young men leaving at that time were expected to acquire and develop public speaking skills as part of their duties as citizens. e Th first rules of a public speech were elaborated on over 2000 years ago by the Greek philosopher and teacher of Alexander the Great – Aristotle. We know them as the Three Basic Parts of Persuasion: • Ethos (credibility or the speaker) • Logos (logic behind any conclusions drawn by a speaker) • Pathos (emotional appeal or ability to create connection between the speaker and his audience) 10 Successful Public Speaking Evolution of Public Speaking es Th e key elements still lie at the base of any successful public speech. First, in order to be asked to share their thoughts, observations and ideas publically a speaker should possess a certain level of authority and knowledge about the chosen topic (ethos). To make sure that the message is received and understood correctly by the audience, it has to be conveyed in a clear, informative and logical manner (logos). And to capture and hold the audience’s attention the speaker must first establish an emotional connection with the listeners. (pathos). 11 Successful Public Speaking Evolution of Public Speaking 2.3 Cicero’s Five Canons of Rhetoric Aer t ft he ascension of Rome, public speaking techniques developed in Greece were copied and modified by the Romans. Here, oratory lost its dominance in the political arena, but gained wide popularity as a form of entertainment, allowing famous orators to gain political power and wealth by using their public speaking skills. Amongst such people was Marcus Tullis Cicero – a lawyer, politician, philosopher, who gained fame as Rome’s greatest orator. Around 50 B.C. Cicero wrote his treatise called “De Oratore” where he explained his “Five Canons of Rhetoric” that are widely used by many public speakers up to this day. Cicero believed that the process of eloquent speech preparation consists of five main steps: • Invention - development and refinement of the argument (finding ways to persuade) • Arrangement - creation of the structure of a coherent argument • Style - the process of determining how to present an argument, using rhetorical techniques and choosing the words that have the greatest impact on the audience • Memory - the process of learning and memorizing the speech while making it sound natural • Delivery - the process of making effective use of voice and body language 2.4 Modern Elements of Public Speaking e w Th idespread accessibility of mass media and especially, the Internet, has made it easy for us to reach a vast audience and let our voice be heard. Public speaking has evolved from a skill reserved by a selected few to one of the most powerful marketing, educational and brand promotion tools in any business. It is safe to say that in the modern business world just about every well-paid position requires some form of public speaking, be it giving a group sales presentation, presenting your ideas to the board of directors, speaking to a committee or telling a group of potential clients about your company during a corporate event. Most public speeches can be broken down into five basic elements, usually expressed as “Who is saying What to Whom using what Medium with what Ee ff cts?” 12 Successful Public Speaking Evolution of Public Speaking 2.5 Three Styles of Speech e t Th hree most common styles of speeches that you encounter in today’s business and social world are - impromptu, manuscript and extemporaneous. To become a great public speaker you will have to learn and ace each one of them, as it will allow you to speak confidently and effectively in front of any number of listeners and in any given situation. Impromptu speech Impromptu speech is prompted by the occasion rather than being planned in advance. While famous public speakers oen j ft oke that best impromptu speeches should be prepared weeks in advance, usually in real life we have very little or no time to prepare before we speak in front of the audience. Some examples of impromptu speech could be your boss asking you to bring the rest of your team up to date, or a group of friends urging you to say a few words at a non-prot e fi vent. Manuscript speech This type of speech is written like a manuscript and is meant to be delivered word for word. Manuscript speeches are used on many political and social occasions, when every word carries a lot of weight and should not be misquoted. One of the most common examples of a manuscript speech is a political figure delivering a speech that has been written by another person. Extemporaneous speech Extemporaneous speech is the most commonly used type of speech that helps to establish emotional connection with the audience. It is built around key points, but the material can be presented freely, allowing the speaker to make changes in their speech based on the listeners’ reaction. Later in this book we will cover the preparation of all three speech styles, but before we do that, let us address one of the major obstacles that most people face when it comes to speaking in front of a group of people – Fear. 13 Successful Public Speaking Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking 3 O vercoming Fear of Public Speaking 3.1 Introduction An opportunity to speak in front of an audience, whether it is three or three hundred people, is the chance to sell your business or service to potential customers or clients. However, one of the biggest obstacles that many business men and women face is the fear of public speaking. According to national surveys and research results, fear of public speaking (or ‘glossophobia’) ranks among the top dreads, surpassing the fear of heights, fear of spiders and even fear of death itself. As Jerry Seinfeld put it – “at a funeral, the average person would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.” So what is it that makes the fear of public speaking so strong and so debilitating? Why does 75% of population suffer from speech anxiety every time they are asked to talk in front of other people? How can we overcome the fear of speaking in public and polish our communication skills? What can we do to transform the fear of public speaking into enthusiasm and positive energy? 14 Successful Public Speaking Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking 3.2 The Hidden Psychology behind the Fear of Public Speaking Psychologists know that the very fact of being in the spotlight oen t ft riggers the whole range of physical reactions that we would experience in the face of real life-threatening danger as: • Pounding heart • Dry mouth • Shaky hands • Quivering voice • Cold sweaty palms • Stomach cramps Recent research conducted at UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles) might finally shed some light on this issue. MRI scans of the brain showed that the shock and distress of rejection activate the same part of the brain, called the anterior cingulate cortex, that also responds to physical pain. Another study conducted by Edward E. Smith, director of cognitive neuroscience at Columbia University demonstrated that the feeling of rejection is one of the most painful emotions that can be sustained even longer than fear. How can these findings explain the fear of public speaking? If it is painful enough to be rejected by just one person, imagine the pain we could experience when being rejected by a large group of people. Of course, our emotions range from being absolutely terrified to feeling very uncomfortable Our anxiety and fright before the speech, however, may be caused not by fear of public speaking per se’ but by the audience’s reaction to our performance. Or put simply, we are afraid that our nervousness will interfere with our ability to perform and we will end up embarrassing ourselves. Accepting our fear helps us to take proactive steps in addressing stage fright and letting the adrenaline rush work for you, not against you. 3.3 Two Biggest Myths about the Fear of Public Speaking When it comes to public speaking there are two common misconceptions that many business owners and leaders fall prey to: Myth 1: Great public speaking skills are an inborn talent. Of course, some people find it easier to speak in public than the other, but the majority of successful speakers have trained themselves to perform through persistence, preparation and practice. e b Th ottom line is that if you can speak in front of two friends, you can deliver a presentation before an audience. 15 Successful Public Speaking Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking Myth 2: Fear of public speaking is negative and undesirable. This is another common misconception that holds many new speakers back. e Th y believe that stage fright is a sign of their inadequacy and lack of public speaking skills. This could not be further away from truth. No one escapes the rush of adrenaline that accompanies a presentation in front of an audience. The difference between successful speakers and ‘rookies’, is that they have learned to transform and use fear to their advantage. Fear is not only a normal reaction to a public speaking event, but actually boosts our performance. Psychologists agree that some amount of fear heightens your awareness, improves your concentration, sharpens your thinking and gives you an energy boost. It is fear that allows most speakers to perform better during the actual presentation than during practice. 3.4. 5 Ways to Transform the Public Speaking Fear into Excitement e f Th ear of public speaking should not turn into an obstacle to your professional and personal growth. It is much easier to build a business or to advance in your career when you are able to speak with confidence and authenticity to any size group. If you are worried that fear may worsen instead of improve your presentation, here are 5 Practical Ways to transform it into unshakable confidence and excitement: Deep breathing Such strong emotions as anxiety and fear trigger in your body very specific “fight or flight” response: your muscles tighten, your heart rate increases, your blood pressure goes up and your breathing becomes shallow. While this physical reaction may be helpful in escaping danger it is hardly helpful during the presentation (as you can neither run away from your audience, nor fight with it). However, since your breathing rate is directly connected to your emotional reaction, the fastest and easiest way to take your emotions under control and regain confidence is through deep breathing. Whether you are to talk to potential clients or make a presentation to your team, make sure that you remember to breathe deeply and evenly before and during your speech. Shifting focus outwards Paul L. Witt, PhD, assistant professor of communication studies at Texas Christian University, believes that many people perform worse than they could because they focus too much on their physical symptoms (i.e. butterflies, shaky hands, sweaty palms) and on their embarrassment instead of concentrating on their breathing and their speech. This problem could be easily avoided by shifting focus from how we feel or look to the message we want to share with our audience. Visualizing Visualization or mental rehearsal has been routinely used by many top athletes as a part of the training for a competition. In addition to athletics, research has shown that visualization helps to improve performance in such areas as communication, public speaking and education. 16 Successful Public Speaking Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking To ensure that your presentation goes smoothly, aside from actual preparation and the rehearsal of your speech, take 10- 15 minutes a day to relax, close your eyes and visualize the room you are speaking in, the people in the auditorium and yourself confidently delivering your speech, smiling, and moving across the stage. Focusing on facts, not fears Instead of focusing on irrational fears (e.g. mind going blank, audience getting bored) concentrate your thoughts on positive facts such as: “I have practiced my speech many times”, “I am an expert on this topic”, “I have notes with major bullet points to keep the structure of my talk”. Focusing on positive facts and on what you can oer ff takes your thoughts away from irrational scenarios about what can go wrong. Building your speech on clarity, not complexity While it is oen t ft empting to include as much useful information in your speech as possible, practice shows that this might not be a good idea. Organizing the speech or presentation around two three main points, allows you to relax and not worry so much about running out of time or forgetting to mention something important to the listeners. 17 Successful Public Speaking Components of a Successful Speech 4 C omponents of a Successful Speech 4.1 Introduction “e s Th uccess of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives.” - Lilly Walters Given the choice many of us would prefer to submit a written report rather than get up and convey the same information orally. And it is not only fear of public speaking that holds us back. The written language holds many advantages. Written words can be chosen with greater deliberation and care. Written arguments can be expressed in a sophisticated, complex and lengthy manner and the readers have the option of taking in the text at a pace that is comfortable for them and even re-reading it if they choose to do so. This degree of precision is hard to achieve when delivering a speech. The presenter does not have the same amount of time to choose the words that would best explain their opinion or idea. While the listeners have to rely only on their cognitive skills to recall and analyze the message. On the other hand, verbal communication can be significantly more effective in expressing the meaning of the message to the audience. The speaker has an opportunity to use other means of communication that written language does not allow. Let us take a look at the other means of communication available to speaker besides the power of the spoken word. es Th e include: - Storytelling - Body language - Tone of voice - Pauses - Visual cues 4.2 Storytelling 4.2.1 The Importance of Storytelling in a Public Speech Everyone loves to listen to stories. A well told story has an almost hypnotic effect on the listeners. People might forget what you wore during a presentation or some of the charts, graphs and statistical data shown to them, but they will never forget the stories that you told them. Many leaders and managers avoid storytelling in their presentations, believing that they have to keep their speech formal and business-like. This is one of the main reasons they oen fa ft il to grab their audience’s attention and establish an atmosphere of trust and respect with their listeners. 18 Successful Public Speaking Components of a Successful Speech In the business world whether you are speaking in front of two hundred people or making a presentation to your client, do not be afraid to include a few personal stories in your speech. Professional public speakers use storytelling in their presentations for a variety of purposes which includes to: Make statistical data, graphics and facts more vivid and interesting Relieve tension • Make important points of the presentation memorable • Establish a connection with the particular audience • Emphasize the message • Introduce controversial issues • Encourage thinking • Shape people’s beliefs • Raise the energy level of the group • Motivate people to act 4.2.2 Definition of Storytelling Storytelling can be defined as a structured narrative account of real or imagined events that is widely used in public speaking as a medium for sharing, interpreting and oer ff ing the content of the story to the listeners. e b Th est stories to use in your public speech may involve true facts from your life; self-effacing humorous facts about your past mistakes, and challenges; success stories from famous people’s biographies; and stories that explore the history of your business. 4.2.3 Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling Not every story will grab your audience’s attention and interest. There are a few important points that should be taken into consideration when choosing the right story for your speech: Do’s • Always make your story relevant to the subject at hand • Keep your stories simple and short • Eliminate inconsequential detail • Space stories at intervals to reemphasize your message • Make sure the plot of the story involves a lesson or a transformation outcome that your listeners can relate to and benefit from. • Use appropriate body language and facial expressions to convey emotions to your listeners. • Use elements of the story that your audience can relate to (e.g. people, places, and familiar facts). • Emphasize the adjectives and verbs in your stories to make them sound more interesting. • Learn your stories by heart 19 Successful Public Speaking Components of a Successful Speech Don’ts • Do not use more than two or three stories on the same topic as each successive one will lose its impact • Do not use terms that are foreign to the experience of the audience • Do not fill stories with too many characters, events or details “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson Body language is the process of non-verbal communication when our physical, mental and emotional states are manifested through conscious and unconscious body movements and gestures. Numerous psychological findings show that non-verbal communication and especially body language accounts for as much as 55% of the message received by the audience. While words for the most part are perceived and interpreted by our rational mind, our physical gestures and facial expressions reach and are interpreted on a much deeper subconscious level. You have probably noticed it yourself many times – a person can say all the right words to convince you to do something, yet a part of you still resists listening to that person. e Th main reason behind this resistance is contradictive body language. While we can choose our words carefully, our body language oen p ft ortrays our real thoughts, feelings and beliefs. It means that in many professional and personal situations what you say may have a lesser impact on your listeners than how you say it. 20 Successful Public Speaking Components of a Successful Speech Still the majority of business speakers spend very little or no time at all thinking about their body language as they prepare a speech. This oen p ft roves to be a big mistake, as appropriate use of body language signals your confidence and conviction in your material and ideas, helps you to say more in less time and increases understanding and retention of what has been said. er Th efore, learning to use effective body language during your presentations as well as ‘reading’ the gestures and facial expressions of your listeners goes a long way to improving your communication skills and becoming a better public speaker. Posture Slouching shoulders and tensed muscles and abrupt, anxious movements might not be so obvious to the speaker, but this nervousness, tension and lack of conviction are quickly transmitted to the audience. If you want your listeners to feel comfortable and interested by your speech, make sure that you keep a relaxed and upright posture. Do not lean or grip the lectern as if your life depends on it and avoid shifting your weight from one foot to another as it can become distracting. Body Placement Often, new speakers trap themselves behind a podium, using it as a ‘psychological’ barricade between themselves and their audience. Needless to say, doing this does not help to establish a connection with the audience or keep them interested in the message. Even if you usually speak from behind a lectern it is a good idea to step away occasionally. Movement in the direction of your listeners is a sign of trust and openness. Movement is also a great way to make a clear transition from one point to another, allowing a speaker to quickly regain the listeners’ attention. Arms While on stage, be careful of using hand gestures that reveal anxiety such as clenching your hands together, clutching notes, fiddling with your clothing, or hiding your hands in your pockets. Even if you feel nervous, practice speaking with your arms relaxed at your sides as it helps to convey your calm attitude, sincerity and openness. Facial expression When it comes to establishing a connection with your audience and winning their admiration there is nothing more effective than a genuine smile. As a speaker, you should be the first one to demonstrate your sympathy and interest in your audience and the best way to do it is by smiling and looking at your listeners as you talk. 4.4 Tone of voice 4.4.1. Introduction “Talk low, talk slow, and don’t talk too much.” -John Wayne 21 Successful Public Speaking Components of a Successful Speech A speaker’s confidence, emotional state and attitude is oen r ft evealed in the tone of voice. In the area of public speaking your voice becomes a powerful instrument that allows you to engage, charm and encourage your audience to listen. ŽĨǀŽŝĐĞĂĐĐŽƵŶƚƐĨŽƌĂƉƉƌŽdžŝŵĂƚĞůLJϯϯйŽĨƚŚĞƚƌƚŽŶĞ/ŶĨĂĐƚ͕ĚŵĞƐƐĂŶƐŵŝƚƚĞ ĂŐĞ͕ ƌĞƐƉŽŶƐŝďůĞĨŽƌŽŶůLJϳйĂĐƚƵĂůǁŽƌĚƐƚŚĂƚLJŽƵƐĂLJĂƌĞǁŚŝůĞƚŚĞŽĨĐŽŵŵƵŶŝĐĂƚŝŽŶ͘ It may mean that people are more influenced by the sound and quality of an individual’s voice than by its content. Of course, these findings do not imply that the weight of the spoken words should be ignored or that it diminishes. e Th y, however, demonstrate that the effect of vocal cues on your listeners have to be taken into consideration when preparing your speech and delivering it in public. In order to better grasp the impact that your voice has on an audience try to recall a public speaker or an old University professor who talked in a monotone voice. How difficult was it to keep your focus on what was being said? Speakers who talk in a tone with no variations, which usually happens when a public speaker is reading the speech or recalling it verbatim, quickly lose their audience’s attention and even put some of their listeners to sleep. To avoid people dozing off or daydreaming during your presentation you have to learn to control your tone of voice and use it to make your speech more expressive and hypnotizing. 4.4.2 Paralanguage e s Th tudy dedicated to the vocal part of non-verbal communication is called paralinguistics, while the term “paralanguage” refers to the non-verbal elements of communication as: - pace (speed) - pitch (highness or lowness of voice) - volume (loudness) - and, in some cases, enunciation of vocal speech. Let us take a look at how these elements apply and ae ff ct public speaking: 4.4.3 Speech Pace Pace of the speech is the speed at which we say our thoughts out loud. 22 Successful Public Speaking Components of a Successful Speech Often when people feel nervous or excited, they tend to rush through their delivery, hoping to get the presentation over as quickly as possible. As you can probably guess, talking at a fast pace makes it challenging for the listeners to mentally keep up with the speaker and follow the speaker’s train of thought. While some of the message might get through, most will not, as people will quickly lose interest in the presentation. On the other hand, speaking at a slow pace leaves your audience too much time to process your message and their thoughts will soon start to wander off to other topics. Experienced public speakers oen va ft ry their pace during a presentation to hold their audience’s attention over a long period of time and add spice to their speech. However, the biggest part of a presentation should be delivered at rate that allows your listeners to grasp your message and let it sink in. It is worth mentioning that psychological experiments conducted by Smith and Shaer in 1991 s ff uggest that when messages are counter-attitudinal, faster speakers were more persuasive than slower speakers. This might be the one of the factors that has contributed to Anthony Robbins’ success as a motivational speaker, as his quick speech rate allows him to effectively persuade his listeners to change their dysfunctional habits and act on their goals. However, Smith and Shaer a ff lso demonstrated that when an audience inherently agrees with the message slower speech rate tends to be more persuasive than a quick one. 23 Successful Public Speaking Components of a Successful Speech 3 Ways to Improve your Speech Pace If people sometimes tell you “Could you repeat that please?” or “I’m sorry, I did not get that”, the chances are that you are talking too fast. This means that during your presentation or public speaking event you will speak even faster, making it really hard for your listeners to follow your ideas or thoughts. er Th e are a few ways you can bring you speech to an appropriate pace and win your audience’s attention. Steady your breathing As mentioned in a previous chapter, fear and nervousness that many people experience during a presentation is accompanied by physical reactions of the body such as increased heart rate, muscle tension and shallow breathing. Part of the reason why people talk faster during public events is because they run out of air and try to finish the phrase as quickly as possible. Doing this only increases the agitation and makes the voice sound squeezed and strained because they are talking from the top of their lungs with a tight throat, jaw and face. One of the simplest ways to slow down and regain your balance during a presentation is to get your breathing under control. When you feel overly agitated or are racing through the words during your speech, pause and take a few deep breaths before continuing. Focus on the enunciation When we focus on pronouncing words clearly we unwillingly slow down, stop slurring and eliding syllables as we speak, which makes it much easier for our listeners to understand and process our message. Reflect about punctuation in the speech Oral speech, just as a written one, should include and make use of punctuation. It has to be clear to the audience where one phrase ends and the other one starts. Yet, oen fa ft st-speakers tend to ignore phrasing, not pausing for commas, hyphens, question marks and jamming the phrases together. A good way to slow down is to think of how you would express this idea in a written form and to use your speech rate to emphasize the importance of the message or create anticipation for what you are about to say. If you feel that you might be a fast speaker, the rule of thumb is to speak at a pace that is slightly slower than what you are comfortable with. How to pace your speech correctly? Many people who are just starting to master the art of public speaking have a common doubt – How much information to include in the talk in order to communicate the message and fit it in the time frame allowed for each speaker? 24 Successful Public Speaking Components of a Successful Speech On average the appropriate pace for a speech is around 1,000 words per seven minutes (around 140-150 words per minute). If you are writing your speech down you can quickly multiply the number of minutes that you have at your disposal by the number of words you say per minute. For example, if you have 20 minutes to deliver a presentation, it means that your speech would involve 2,800 – 3,000 words.  ϮϬŵŝŶƵƚĞƐdžϭϱϬǁŽƌĚƐͬŵŝŶƵƚĞсϯ͕ϬϬϬǁŽƌĚƐ Note that more time has to be set apart for the jokes and speeches that require the audience’s participation. 4.4.4 Pitch Pitch is a placement of voice on the musical scale ranging from high to low. Usually men speak in a lower pitch (about 120 Hz) than women (220 Hz). Research shows that low-pitch speaking voices, both for men and women are preferable to the listeners as they are associated with authority, credibility, strength and self-confidence. A great example of a low-pitch speaking voice is that of American actor James Earl Jones. Many remember him as the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars and Simba’s dad in The Lion King. High-pitched voices, on the contrary, are less pleasant to the ears of the audience as they are perceived as less persuasive, weaker, less truthful and more nervous. Partly, this unconscious assumption holds true, as the nervousness of a speaker is oen r ft eflected in a high-pitched, “thin” or nasal sounding voice or in the habit of raising the pitch at the beginning or end of the phrase. While there are no “golden” voice standard to t fi all, voice coaches usually suggest public speakers talk at the lower end of their speaking voice to make it sound more rich and expressive. Variation of voice pitch during the presentation We have already mentioned that speaking in a monotone voice makes the message sound bland, unemotional and even boring. Varying your voice in pitch during a presentation is the easiest way to: • Avoid monotony and hold the audience’s interest • Add color and excitement to the speech • Make certain words and ideas stand out • Appear relaxed and confident to the listeners 25 Successful Public Speaking Components of a Successful Speech When preparing your speech, it is important to identify and note the exact words or phrases that you would like to empathize and help you listeners to remember. For example, you may use a higher pitch voice for excitement and a lower pitch to add weight and seriousness to the message. 4.4.5 Volume Volume refers to the power of loudness of your voice. It is one of the simplest areas of modulation to master by public speakers, as it oen dep ft ends on the size of the audience and the settings the speech is delivered in. Clearly, the volume of the voice should not be too high so that it looks as if you are shouting or too low, where your listeners have difficulty hearing you. However, varying the loudness of your voice during presentation can be very effective in stressing an important or dramatic point, express strong emotions or to build suspense and make people lean forward to hear what is being said. 4.5 The Power of Pause “e r Th ight word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” - Mark Twain As strange as it may seem to many executives and business leaders, who are accustomed to persuading and managing other people - public speaking is not just about talking in public. 26

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