Public Speaking

Introductions Matter

Introductions are only 10–15 percent of one’s speech, so speakers need to make sure they: 

  • Gain Audience Attention and Interest
  • State the Purpose of Your Speech
  • Establish Credibility
  • Provide Reasons to Listen
  • Preview Main Ideas

Public Speaking Pyramid

Speech Practice Checklist

  • Conversational Style
  • Eye Contact
  • Volume
  • Rate
  • Pitch
  • Pauses
  • Vocal Variety
  • Pronunciation
  • Posture
  • Body Movement
  • Facial Expressions

Conclusions Also Matter 

They signal the end and aid audience to memorise your speech:

  • Restatement of Thesis
  • Review of Main Points
  • Concluding Device – Final Thought
  • Conclude with a Challenge
  • Conclude with a Quotation
  • Conclude with a Summary
  • Conclude by Visualising the Future
  • Conclude with an Appeal to Action
  • Conclude by Inspiration
  • Conclude with Advice
  • Conclude with Proposing a Solution
  • Conclude with a Question
  • Conclude with a Reference to Audience

Myths about Speech Anxiety

Communication Apprehension – a term for fear or anxiety associated with either real or anticipated communication with another person or persons. Our bodies cannot distinguish between psychological and physical threats, so we react as though we were facing a truck barreling in our direction.

  • People who suffer from speaking anxiety are neurotic – FALSE
  • Telling a joke or two is always a good way to begin a speech – FALSE
  • Imagine the audience is naked (?!) – FALSE
  • Any mistake means that you have “blown it.” – FALSE
  • Avoid speaking anxiety by writing your speech out word for word and memorizing it – FALSE
  • Audiences are out to get you – FALSE
  • You will look to the audience as nervous as you feel – FALSE
  • A little nervousness helps you give a better speech – TRUE

Sources of Anxiety

Since a little nervousness or mild anxiety can even be beneficial for your speech, let’s try to understand the sources for such a psychological condition first:

  • Trait Anxiety – Personality Matters, – Yes, some speak better then others in general.
  • Context Anxiety – It depends on these factors largely:
    • Formality – more formal, more we worry
    • Uncertainty – unclear things scare us
    • Novelty – new or first time, again source for worry
  • Audience Anxiety – there may be specific groups of people with whom we worry more
  • Situational Anxiety – depending on context and audience – at a specific time

Stages of Anxiety

  • Anticipation – a minute prior to speech, peak of anxiety
  • Confrontation – the first minute, after that the worries slowly retreat
  • Adaptation – the last minute, we often worry least and hurry to finish
    • The stage where so we often spoil the speech
  • Release – the minute after the end, sense of achievement and relief

Oral Language vs. Writing

  1. Oral language has a smaller variety of words.
  2. Oral language has words with fewer syllables.
  3. Oral language has shorter sentences.
  4. Oral language has more self-reference words (I, me, mine).
  5. Oral language has fewer quantifying terms or precise numerical words.
  6. Oral language has more pseudo-quantifying terms (many, few, some).
  7. Oral language has more extreme and superlative words (none, all, every, always, never).
  8. Oral language has more qualifying statements (clauses beginning with unless and except).
  9. Oral language has more repetition of words and syllables.
  10. Oral language uses more contractions.
  11. Oral language has more interjections (“Wow!,” “Really?,” “No!,” “You’re kidding!”).
  12. Oral language has more colloquial and nonstandard words.

Task to Prepare

The task is simple – you are to chose INDIVIDUALLY any topic – Yes, ANY TOPIC, to speak for 2 minutes. Timing is important here, no extra seconds. But what’s really important, is for you to remember all the guidelines we’ve covered so far for the efficient communication. This is the time to practice the speech several times and make sure we are confident about the messages and style of the delivery. Practice, prepare and looking forward to seeing you in class.

No Visuals, No Slides – Just Camera and Microphone Please.

Strictly 2 minutes.

Looking forward to some very interesting stories about… ANYTHING!.. One advice only, whatever the topic – keep it narrow, really narrow!