“All the great speakers were bad speakers at first,” said an American lecturer and a philosopher, Ralph Emerson. Public speaking is not only about speaking but it can also help to develop our confidence and self-esteem. That is why I find this course the most valuable and self-improving class I’ve ever taken. In addition, it is important to everyone regardless of what kind of job their willing to do, most of us, at some point in our lives, will need to stand up and speak in front of a group of people.
Hence, there are certain skills we as students to improve to become successful and effective speakers and they classified as being well prepared before the speech, gain attention, making eye contact, and having a good posture while delivering a speech is important.
Preparing for the speech in advance is one of the most important aspects when it comes to successful speech delivery. I have had somewhat of a hard time selecting a topic for the speech always but it is when I used the skill brainstorming.
The goal of brainstorming is to let yourself immediately generate a vast number of ideas, normally in relation to a specific purpose. When I brainstorm for my speech topics, I’d usually write “What topic should my speech be about?” at the top of a piece of paper. Then, I wrote down whatever came to my mind. It feels less stressful and effective than any other method for finding a topic of interest using my own ideas.
In the beginning of the semester, I was not a fan of either brainstorming or critical thinking, but when I started getting used to do so, I was stunned to see the results.
Therefore, I believe brainstorming is the first and most powerful thing to do when preparing to deliver a speech. Next, once we came up with the right content for the speech, it is important to rehearse the speech several times. I knew that the more I rehearsed my part of the speech, the more prepared I would feel. This helped me to know precisely what I was going to be discussing and feel more comfortable and less anxious while in front of the audience. Even though many students practice their speeches in front of the mirror when rehearsing, I strongly believe practicing the speech in front of a few people like our parents, siblings, and close friends and getting their feedback is way better. This will always take away my nervousness or stage fright before the big day. Moreover, it is important to time our speeches perfectly. We’ve usually given a particular time period like 3 to 4 minutes for our informative and persuasive speeches.
Throughout my speeches so far, I’ve witnessed that I talk faster than I do when I rehearse the speech. In the first speech, with little knowledge regarding this matter, I rehearsed for a speech about which took me 3.30 minutes, but in the class when I presented it to the audience I ended up my speech around 2 minutes. Therefore, I’ve learned that it’s better to prepare for the speech somewhat longer than the minimum time limit, especially when speaking extemporaneously and I was able to overcome this in the informative speech I delivered. Personally, public speaking is not my strongest skill, but to accommodate for this, I practiced these strategies and I’ll use them for every occasion in my career.
The most challenging task I had to overcome throughout the course was to be able to grab the audience’s attention right on the spot I start delivering the speech. There are many ways to gain attention such as beginning with a quotation, asking questions, sharing a story, and many more. During this course, among them I’ve seen many students starting their speeches with asking questions, and providing quotations.
However, I’m comfortable with presenting my speeches with providing a story based on my experiences adding a little bit of general humor to them. To illustrate, during my informative speech, I used this technique and immediately saw that the audience was with me which gave me a lot of confidence to carry on the speech comparing any other speech that I’ve given before. I believe there are many reasons for why I prefer that way to other techniques. For instance, as a beginner for public speaking, I find a little bit harder to approach the audience by stating quotations or any other technique as they need a lot of practice and variations in the voice. But I’ve developed these skills when comparing the first days of my public speaking class and now all with the guidance of our lecture. I strongly believe that not only the conclusion but the introduction too should be a bang, not a whimper!!
Another significant improvement I made during the course was learning to make better eye contact with my audience. It’s an important yet hard task to do in order to keep up the audience with the speaker for a beginner. Even though I tried to look less at my notes in the first speech, it was a bit tough for me which I then completely got used to during my other speeches. On the other hand, with being grateful to this course, I believe that I also improved my use of gestures. Previously, I would stand in a position and either cling my hands together or make fewer movements due to nervousness. During the speeches in this semester, I mainly focused on avoiding such distracting tendencies and instead used meaningful gestures.
Lastly, a public speaker’s body language, posture provides a significant role in his or herself in their public speaking abilities as posture is all part of our body language. A poor posture of slouching will appear lazy or disengaged to your audience. When you stand too rigid you look unapproachable to your audience. When you are standing or sitting in a good posture, you appear more confident and knowledgeable. As a public speaker, it requires you to stand for long periods at a time.
Therefore, not maintaining a good posture will cause problems with a person’s joints and muscles. A person may feel tired and have trouble concentrating on their speech or presentation, which ultimately affects their message they’re trying to share. The value of having a good posture is that your bones are aligned properly and your muscles and joints including the ones in your face and jaw, work naturally and it better helps your enunciation. Lastly, when having poor posture your ribs and lungs get compressed, which limits the amount of air you can breathe into your lungs. As a result, you have less air coming to your lungs, which will cause you to be out of breath quicker when speaking. In addition, you will not be able to project your voice as well.
Overall, I have learned numerous things regarding how to speak in front of an audience. Over the public speaking course, we were taught how to prepare for a speech, how to hook the audience with the speaker, why making eye contacts, correct posture is important, and many more. I may still have many more things to learn and get used to but I am much improved from just a few short months ago when I knew almost nothing about what it takes to be a good public speaker. I believe that everything I am taking a shot at can be survived and will be conquered within the near future.
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