How to Master the Art of Public Speaking

No one is super confident while delivering their first speech on a stage. And that is what makes the fine art of public speaking an art that need not be essentially God gifted. The art of oratory can be worked upon and mastered with practice and perseverance. Whether you are a CEO who needs to deliver a speech to boost the confidence of your employees, a student who needs to deliver the maiden stage performance or a freelancer who needs to increase your brand’s  visibility, public speaking may seem like, but is not tough. It is just about convincingly presenting the information, and making the experience a little rewarding for an audience, even if a little dramatic!

Let us start at the very beginning. So, there is little time when a speaker is introduced, and those few minutes can work like unearthing a gold mine. Here is how; 

Observe the audience, and try to guess their vibe: 

Well, delivering on stage always requires a script or some basic content to follow. But that does not mean that it needs to be a boring piece of performance! The trick here is to learn by the inherent power of observation. Take the first few minutes when you are on stage, to focus on the audience rather than fearfully remembering your script. Observe the vibe and the kind of people present in the hall, their gender, their age groups, and similar demographic factors. it gives a headway on getting little extempore and mentally noting down a few things if demographics demand so.  

Give the “attention span” its due attention when you initiate a speech:

More and more studies point to the simple fact that people’s attention span is getting shorter. The endless pings on the mobile divert one’s attention all the time and this is fundamentally changing how we interact with the world. So, a public speaker must be innovative with this simple modern fact, and work around it from all possible perspectives. Here are a few pointers which can help in better audience engagement. 

  • And a personal story in the very beginning to add texture to your talk. We live and breathe in stories. Since childhood, we are conditioned to learn through stories. Remember, adding a personal element makes a speaker seem real and believable, and hence, worthy of attention. 
  • One can always move around a room so that the audience is alert. You can also ask a few interesting questions to prove a point more effectively, or throw an interesting fact to excite the audience. 
  • Make use of humour, just like in any other normal situation that life presents. Anyone who can derive something funny out of even a serious situation immediately arrests attention. So humour your audience, and keep the content light in between, even when the topic is serious. 

Use the ancient art of story-telling as a tool to gain attention:

We live and breathe in stories, at least while we are kids. Almost every one of us had a grandmother or a distant aunt, who excelled in the art of story-telling. Whether to preach a moral or make a point in practicality, story narration is embedded deep in our psyche and must be utilized. The basic structure of narrating a story can always be the same; presenting a problem, showing the future potential if the problem is resolved, and finally presenting the solution or hypothesis that you are there to present. 

Try to reach a common ground as soon as you can:

Do your loved ones always listen to your point of view? How many times do they do what you tell them to do? Rarely! So, if your loved ones don’t necessarily listen to you most of the time, why will unknown audiences give their attention to you? Every human needs compensation to act on someone’s idea, and here the compensation can be to find a common ground. Why are they listening to you in the first place? Because they are interested in this topic unless forced by the principal, of course! So, if they are interested, what is the common ground here? Once you can guess that, you can work your way around to reach a common ground. Common ground is perhaps the first reason to initiate any business communication.

Public speaking is a great way to connect to a big audience within a few minutes. So, whether you are using the platform to market your brand or a CEO who needs to present himself in a charismatic light, embrace the fear of public speaking, and deal with it like a pro. Public speaking can be both terrifying or exciting, and one should be ready to deal with both the reactions from the audience, at least initially! But once one gets a grip of it, there are countless opportunities and fewer takers of this great art of public speaking! 


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ERIN FALCONER!

Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

16 Responses to How to Master the Art of Public Speaking

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  2. Kim Nguyen says:

    Hi Erin! I found these insights valuable, especially for someone like myself who can be intimidated by public speaking. I like the approach of finding common ground and sharing personal stories with a dash of humor. Whenever I see talks that present a topic with a layer of humanity, I enjoy them that much more. Thanks!

  3. Parth says:

    Hey Erin, If I tell you the truth I have find your advice helpful but it still need work . I know my words can hurt you. I am also a blogger. But I want you to improve.

    I really liked your coming on similar grounds and story telling. But I have one question.

    Many great speakers like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc. , do not follow traditional rules of public speaking but still they are great speakers.

  4. This one is very important, and it doesn’t matter how big the audience is. Make eye contact with as many people as possible. It makes the audience members feel like you are speaking directly to them. And don’t just stick to people in the first couple rows. Look at the people in the back too.

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