Self Assurance (The Key To Public Speaking)

public speaking

Make sure that you have finished speaking before your audience finished listening .

Dorthy Sarnoff


 Self Assurance (The Key To Public Speaking)

When addressing a large audience many people become tongue-tied even to the point where they are both physically and verbally unable to address a meeting , regardless of whether they are talking to strangers or their own colleagues . The reason is really quite simple . Public speaking demands a series of techniques which is not demanded in every day conversation. In public speaking one of the basic and most vital characteristic to develop is your mental attitude . this however should not be an excuse for amateur speakers to feel the need to apologise before they start : “ You know I’m not really used to this sort of thing , ”  all the disastrous “ Unaccustomed as I’m to public speaking ”. Such beginners should be avoided at all costs for they show that You are running out of words and have very little confidence .




1: The Audience is probably on your side :

When speaking in public one of the basic principles that one should remember is the audience to whom you are speaking wants you to succeed . They will always be prepared to reach out to meet you and your ideas in order to make the interaction a successful one . Remember one thing that your listeners are not waiting for you to collapse or to make a mistake . Always consider the audience to be sympathetic and supportive to your ideas .


2) Know the Geography of where you gonna speak :

One of the best ways to ensure that every thing would go your way in your performance is to check out as early as you can the physical attributes of the place where you going to speak . This basically is to avoid the fear and the apprehension of any unexpected problems or difficulties to come in your way. Such preparations are done only a few hours so as to be adequately prepared before the start of your speech .




When speaking in public  one of the basic factors to pay heed to is your presentation . If you don’t feel good enough to work on your presentation your audience won’t feel interested enough to listen to you . When considering presentation , keep the following points in mind :

1) Talk personally to each person in the room

You should always consider yourself to be speaking to a large number of people who each demand the same type of attention as you would give to an individual. This would make every person in your audience feel that he is the centre of attention and is not being ignored. In the words of Charles Reade “Always speak as though there were only one person in the hall whom you had to convince.”

2) Adopt a pace that others can absorb

The speed of your delivery should be such so as to match that of the most disabled person in your audience- a slower person an elderly person or one who is hard of hearing. And never ask “ Can you hear me at the back?” You will only get a shout “no” from the humorist in your audience . This means to say that you should learn to adopt a volume from your own judgement rather than from others.


3) Use pauses skilfully to create an impact

Regulate your speech with several pauses so as to give your audience considerable time to think over what you have said. Once the audience gets an idea of what you are saying they might keep up with you all through out your speech. A pause gives your audience a chance to recollect their  ideas and move on to the next thought. Once this is achieved you can  be assured that at least 50% of the audience is with you.


4) Be constantly aware of your Objective

Know your objective in talking. Decide beforehand what attitude of mind you want your audience to leave with and work backwards from that. If you are persuading your audience to implement a certain strategy, buy a certain product or to work for a change then be sure that as your listeners leave the hall they should be at least 75% convinced of the proposition presented. If indeed you are trying to entertain them then as they leave the scene they should at least have a smile on their faces.

5) Work to a clear framework

A good structure is the basis of your speech. This would not only assist you but also help the audience to stay attuned. The advantage to the audience is that they would have an overall structure that they can recognise. Thus in cases when they loose contact with your speech they can easily rejoin you if you are following the pattern which is in their mind.

 6) Have control on your audience

In order to retain control of your audience one thing you should remember is never to allow questions during the presentation until or unless it has been designed on an question and answer basis. You should never allow your audience to disrupt you during your speech or presentation by asking question which can well be asked in the end. Such queries should always be kept for the end. Still under any circumstances if a question arise unexpectedly make a note of it and say that you will deal with it at the end.

7) Address the back of the room or the hall

When speaking in public try to raise your volume to the end of the room assuming that the person standing there is almost deaf (he might well be). People usually don’t tend to complain that they can’t hear you but in return might get busy in a conversation with another. This indeed may inspire other to join him and thus the effect may be largely negative.

8) Work on your listeners demand

Public speaking is relatively ineffective or in fact entirely useless in cases when you don’t know the demand of your listener. Just as a musician must know his audiences taste before he can actually play the piece of music, the same rule applies for public speaking. With any audience you must talk at their level of knowledge, not above it so that they do not understand, nor below it so that they feel that they know the subject better than you. Aim at understanding your audience.

9) Handling humour is not for the amateur

Many a times using jokes may in fact go against you especially when a joke fall flat right at the very outset therefore you should use humour skilfully and never tell a joke that is not relevant. Proper use of humour is certainly essential and most great speakers have had the ability to use humour in order to develop a more intimate relationship with their audience. Churchill, Shaw and man others had an innate ability to insert humour into a serious topic and thus make themselves more acceptable to their audience. Amateurs should thus avoid humour at all cost for a dead joke is a dead speech, and rarely does an amateur comedian recognise his limitation.

10) Avoid clichés and make your presentation original

Using old phrases and statements that have become outdated indeed spoils the outlook of your speech. When speaking in public always try to come up with new and creative ideas or in other words develop your originality. Once your listeners find that you have something out of the ordinary to tell them they’ll always be keenly inclined towards your speech.

11) Create depth of emotion to hold your audience

Try to get depth into your presentation by deliberately creating a few moment of seriousness in your content i.e. try to arouse you listeners by attacking them emotionally. Emotion initiated by you may even cause the emotions of your listeners to get activated and ultimately both you and your listeners may be moving on the same emotional wavelength. People usually like to have their emotions hit and your speech will certainly gain by achieving it.

12) Remember you cannot hold them all the time

In case of a distraction react to it and show that you are also human. Always remember to be quick enough to make a reaction yourself. A police siren past the window will also ensure that for a moment you have lost all contact with your listeners. Make sure that you don’t try to compete by trying to talk over it and pretend the distraction is not happening. The only exceptions may be a deliberate interruption from hecklers(maybe drunkards). In such cases be beware of responding since with this kind of internal distraction you cannot win. The best way is to ignore it and continue with your speech.

13) The start and finish are important

Always remember that in any speech the most important parts must always be the initial opening and the conclusion. You can get away with a lot of things if you create an impact here and it is most advisable to have your most important points here. The statement ‘ don’t waste those opening minutes’ should never be underestimated. Recall the statement

“Friends, Romans and Countrymen lend me your ears”

which was indeed far swifter than anything in the speech that followed.





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