Throughout the history of human civilization, people have been expressing their confidence and strength, not only by force, but also by the noble art of public speaking.
The orators of ancient Greece were highly respected and valued in the community. Likewise, todays world leaders are admired and esteemed when they have the power to address the public with poise and conviction.
Such a high regard for public speaking makes the average person cringe at the idea of talking in front of an audience no matter how big or small the size.
Whether giving a toast at a wedding or delivering a speech to a large assembly, most people make a big deal about public speaking and try to avoid it as much as possible. But public speaking should not cause such a big fuss. Challenging as it may be, public speaking can be done with a few simple guidelines.
Before Making The Speech: Preparation
Like any other endeavor, public speaking requires careful preparation to be successful. Many people would dream of having those inspired spontaneous speeches seen in movies; however, such scenes rarely happen in real life.
To have at least a decent speech, one should plan well. Even the worlds most famous leaders prepare for public addresses, and most even have teams to work on those plans.
Well, even if one does not have a speech preparation committee one can prepare for public speaking. First, one should know for what the occasion the speech is for. The Gettysburg address would definitely not be appropriate for a wedding; thus, a speech has to fit the event where it will be delivered to.
Second, one should examine the audience who will witness the speech. An assembly of academics would not take a perky speaker seriously; one should choose a suitable public speaking style based on the audience.
Third, one should ponder what is being expected in the speech. A farmers association would usually not be interested on a speech about the intricacies of beadwork; one should carefully study the subject matter to be tackled in public speaking.
Making The Speech: Writing
Again, dazzling spontaneous speeches rarely happen in real life. Most good speeches have been written before their delivery. While most noted public figures have speech-writing committees, one can make a good speech even without the help of a team of ghostwriters.
When writing for public speaking, one should carefully organize the contents of the speech. It usually pays well to begin with a very strong introduction. It is important to catch the audiences attention early to prevent them from being bored easily. Next, the body should be purposeful.
The contents of the speech should relate well and support each other. It is not good to digress too much; though at times some deviations help attract attention when boredom arises. Lastly, one should make a conclusion that sticks to the mind. No matter how stirring a speech is, it is useless if the people forget it the instant they leave the gathering. Conclusions should give a concise but memorable recap of the body.
The Actual Public Speaking: Delivery
A written speech would not be consummated without the actual public speaking itself. This is the part most people are afraid of; but when proper planning and writing is done well, the delivery should follow easily.
One must decide whether to speak from memory or to use notes. Beginners should benefit from a script or a guide, when one becomes more comfortable speaking in public, one can start relying from memory.
Reading directly from a script can be quite boring for the audience; thus, it is important to keep constant contact with them. Speaking from memory is quite impressive, but it can be difficult to avoid missing some parts of the speech. Speaking with notes can be a good compromise so long as one is able to expound on the points well. The choice of how to deliver the speech depends entirely on the speaker; thus, it is important for one to weigh the options carefully.
Learning More About Public Speaking
Several resources could help one do well in public speaking. Several books and articles about the topic have been published and they can well be accessed through the library or the bookstore.
Many companies offer public speaking training, and such services provide in-depth courses that could help one speak well in public. There are also several articles and courses available through the Internet, some of them are even posted for free.