Thursday, September 13, 2012

Yes, you can be an effective public speaker

Dr Abe V Rotor
With Ms Melly C Tenorio Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air)
738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

You'll freeze on stage trembling and mumbling, and mental block could be the next thing to happen. It's a crucible to one who is not prepared to go up the stage and say something before the microphone, and before uttering a single word, the audience is already anticipating what he is going to say. And they are already making judgment on the impression he is creating.

Time stops. How you wish your role is over and go back to your seat. Don't be a escapist to a challenge, responsibility, and a chance to be heard. To be appreciated and recognized.

People who are good in public speaking do it everyday, so to speak. It is as natural as ergonomics. Green thumb. Like driving a car for years. Or like a veteran teacher.

Well, for all we know "we are on stage talking" most of the time in our lives. Shakespeare said, "The world's a stage." The stage is everywhere - before the dining table with the family, in meeting relatives after years of absence. How many times have you sat beside the hearth among friends and acquaintances?

It's a good advice. In public speaking you should be natural and at ease. Know your subject as you know your audience. And yourself as a public speaker.

In public speaking, as in any form of communication, there are five basic elements, often expressed as "who is saying what to whom using what medium with what effects?"Public speaking can be a powerful tool to use for purposes such as motivation, influence, persuasion, informing, translation, or simply entertaining.

Here are some tips to good public speaking.

1. Prepare an outline of your main points and put them on index cards or a sheet of paper. Don't write out your whole speech and read it.

2. Write your own introduction. Don't rely on the person who will introduce you to come up with a good introduction. Send it before the event to the person who will introduce you.

3. Dress comfortably, neither under and over dressed. Know the dress code and motif ahead of time. Remember grooming is visual and psychological communication.

4. Check out the hall and have a feel of it before the occasion. Arrive a little early. See immediately your host or organizer. Check the needed equipment and materials. Confer with the technicians if you use PowerPoint or present a Documentary. 

5. Get to know your audience. As audience members arrive, introduce yourself and chat with them. It will reduce your nervousness later.

6. Reminder: grammar, diction, modulation, breathe, pacing . Watch out for mannerism. Be aware of the time allocated to you. Don't stammer. Fight off uhs, ahs, hmms, and long pauses.

7. Remember that the audience is on your side. They came to hear what you have to say.
Unless you are in the thick of controversy. Or selling something new - idea or hardware. Even then, people should not be there - or you won't be there, either - if there is no planned purpose of meeting together, and you as speaker.

8. Practice makes perfect. With practice, you can become a confident, polished speaker. Take advantage of opportunities to hone your skills.

9. Research on your topic, enrich it through interview and case studies. There's no substitute to substance. Keep abreast. Elevate level of consciousness. Remember "poor minds talk about people, average minds about events, great minds ideas."

10. Be courteous and humble, spice your talk with wit and humor. Always maintain dignity and values, even in informal gatherings.

Next time you are invited to talk, prepare for it well. Do the dry run several times like editing an article for publication. This time it's not for the eyes only, but all the senses are involved - specially Common Sense. ~

Demosthenes achieves an astonishing intensity, variety, and freshness of emotional expression. He never let his audience anticipate what he will say next. No one creates periodic sentences longer or more complex, or so skillfully suspends the conclusion of a thought. No one has a better instinct for when to vary periodic structure with simpler sentences, or when to break off with a single word. No one better handles the thrust and parry of rhetorical questions and answers, sarcastic asides to and about his opponent, and sudden exclamations. No one can shift his tone so swiftly or with such effect. From a Lecture, Greek Prose Style

NOTE: One thing about Demosthenes my dad taught me when I was a kid is how this great Greek orator fought problems in voice and diction, specially with pronunciation, "R" specially, which is a common problem with children and youth today. Demosthenes would put pebbles into his mouth, and face the sea as his audience, a practice that also increased tremendously the volume and projection of his voice that reverberated in the Senate hall like there was microphone in his time.

Try this with caution. Accidental swallowing of the pebbles may cause asphyxiation.

Comment: Thanks sir, for posting it in the blog, as a student we need those tips not just for now, but for a lifetime, especially when we have our jobs. And for us to know how to express ourselves and for us to be able to socialize confidently. I will try to follow these steps written in the blog, for me to learn and to be good in speaking. - Chiara Alyssa Cochico

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