The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking
Principles, techniques and ways of delivering your speech.
September 05, 2021
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- Goes over the basic principles, techniques, aspects of every speech and methods of delivering a talk.
- A checklist or reference for your next speech.
- Effective speaking is how you connect with people's emotion.
Amazon recommended it and I caught on. I've reading more lately and I know I'm not decent in giving talks or sharing ideas verbally. I realized this book could potentially help me get better at speaking. Not necessarily to the public, but at least to friends.
Anyone who wants to have a mental model on giving effective speech.
Not too much honestly. Some advice were pretty obvious like how to backup your claims. I don't get to talk a lot personally and I don't plan to be incredibly outspoken all of a sudden. At least I would refer to this book again when I have chance.
Learn to make your thoughts, your ideas, clear to others, individually, in groups, in public. You will find, as you improve in your effort to do this, that you - your real self - are making an impression, an impact, on people such as you never made before.
When you are dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.
There are basic skills or mindset that we should distill upon ourselves in order to become an effective speaker. To start, we should look at others' journey in becoming one. No one is born a public speaker. Public speaking is an art that can be learnt. Dale had taught speaking classes to influential people from members of the parliament to celebrities. And also thousands of housewives, teachers and regular people. Some of them doubted their ability to master the art but in fact, they miraculously did it. We have to believe in our potential.
If we truly wanted to master the art, we have to keep sight of our goal. We have to think about what gaining confidence and speaking effectively mean to us. In general, communication is one of the skills that help move us upward in the hierarchical ladder. This could be one of the purposes of learning to speak. Another could be the satisfaction in giving a speech that truly helps people. A round of applause from a large audience or a warm appreciation from a close friend. We can make a good impression on the listeners. When we have a purpose in achieving such a goal, we can power through all the failures and hardships. We set our mind towards success. Thus, we won't easily break down while pursuing the goal.
Practice makes perfect. It's a cliche statement but it works. To become an effective speaker, we have to seize every opportunity to practice. We can try challenging ourselves to participate in activities that involve speaking. Toastmaster is one of the modern social clubs that we could join and practice public speaking. We can also start small by talking to friends or family. We would never know our progress if we don't speak often and evaluate our performance. Our vision of becoming an effective speaker sustains us in seeking ways to improve. It pushes us to go on an adventure that could change us from the inside out.
We need confidence to stand in front of people and get your point across their mind. Whenever we wish to evolve our competence, our ability in a certain aspect, we would have to face the uncertainty of things we don't know, the fear and anxiety that comes along in the process. Everyone will most definitely have stage fright. You won't know where you will mess up or how would the crowd react. Your expression, your words, and your movement are totally exposed to others. It can be overwhelming but not necessarily unbearable. Our fright can act as an adrenaline shot. It can boost us to think, speak and react efficiently.
Confidence is only for those who prepared well. Well-prepared speakers never memorize their speech word by word. They go through their material thoroughly to absorb the ideas. Words come naturally when ideas are clear. Memorized content is insincere and mechanical. Once you go blank on the stage, you would try to remember the exact words you've written instead of the underlying idea you wish to present. Winston Churchill was once like that and eventually became an inspiring speaker during wartime. We should always try to assemble and arrange our thoughts beforehand.
Lose yourself in the subject. When you are giving a speech, think about how would your words help others, what value do they hold which would elevate them. You are not the center of attention so who cares if you messed up some parts. Your overall content and inspiration for others should be the main focus. Be confident in the worth of your content and it would indirectly give you the courage to speak in return.
Pick a topic that you earned the right to talk about through your personal experience and study. Those who devoted little time in researching usually generalize vague content. It's typically just the What but not the How. We've seen it in politicians where they gave a great speech in elections trying to win the people. And yet they can't even answer simple questions to back up their claims. For example, in a legislative council election debate in HK about public transportation policies, a nominee couldn't even answer how many people are living in his election district. How is he going to address the needs of the citizens?
People like listening to others' life experiences. It adds a closer touch to your presentation. It's a conversation between you and the audience. Your opinion on the things you've studied is equally important.
You can try looking for topics or examples in:
- Upbringing and struggles
- Unusual experience
- Belief and convicts
Be eager to share your experience and thoughts. Be excited and arouse your interest to learn about a topic and share it with others. You would want to transfer your excitement to others. Your enthusiasm would steer up people's attention and make them feel you are sharing something important.
Many of us underestimate the importance of giving a proper introduction. What's the purpose of an introduction? It creates a bond between the speaker and the audience. It's like a social introduction where you introduce yourself or someone you know to others. Think about what's the best way to introduce yourself and connect with others. Then extend that idea to others.
Giving a speech on a topic is obviously different from a simple introduction about yourself. There are 4 things you would usually need to cover:
- Subject of the talk
- Name of the speaker
- Qualification of the speaker
- Why the subject is of special interest to the audience
Your research should focus on these things. The purpose is to draw the audience's attention and make them receptive to the speaker's talk.
With your research in hand, you can organize everything in the T-I-S Formula:
- T - Topic: The exact title
- I - Importance: Bridge the topic and the interests of the group
- S - Speaker: Qualifications related to the topic, the speaker's name with clear pronunciation.
Show your enthusiasm and sincerity. It's best if you are also excited to hear the talk after your research. This is where you transfer your excitement to the audience. Hence, it stimulates the speaker to do his best. Be honest, don't exaggerate a person's achievements, virtues and worthiness. Over-praising wouldn't necessarily convince the audience and could make the speaker uncomfortable to hear more of himself.
Get Attention Immediately
Begin with an incident. Remember one of the basic principles is to talk about stuff you've experienced. This is where you would want talk about stories that relate to the topic. You won't hesitate since it's something personal. And it helps connect with the audience on a friendly basis.
Arouse interest to know more. Elicit people's curiosity. People can't help to find out what's behind the curtain. It's like a movie trailer where you would tease about what would happen. For example, teasing about how many points you're going to make, what demonstration are you going to do.
State an arresting fact. Shock the audience with bold statements. This is also a way to arouse interest. For example, a war veteran mentioning about how many of his comrades died, enemies or innocent people he killed, wounds, and the healing process he endured. These are all startling facts that ordinary people won't hear from day to day. People would want to hear more about your story.
Ask for hands. Try asking people to vote for something. Don't do it all of sudden. Do it after the audience has warmed up so that they are more likely to participate. A good timing would be after you've done the above points. We've mentioned a talk is not just about the speaker. Asking for hands is a way to include the audience. It breaks the ice between your and the audience. And perhaps among the audience as well. Everyone would see the opinions of each other.
Promise to tell how to get something people want. A talk is supposed to help people learn something. As the speaker, you should be clear about what lessons you are trying to convey. Make a promise based on this. Let people know they are going to learn about how to run a profitable business, how to have a long-lasting relationship, how to price your work etc. And the audience would likely pay attention.
Avoid Unfavourable Attention
Don't start with an apology. This usually happens when you don't have enough confidence or preparation. You would hedge yourself to justify your possible failure. Remember another basic principle we have covered is to build confidence. If you project yourself as a failure, you would perform like a failure. Let the audience judge your performance. Don't low-ball yourself right at the start. It sends off negative vibes which counter the interests of the audience.
Avoid "funny" story opening. Let's be honest, humor is not in everyone. If you don't usually make jokes, don't force it in your speech. If you wish to do it, try finding funny stories that it's relevant to you. It's something that happened to you that's ridiculous. Humor is a sense is to share their honest thoughts that some people don't dare to do. Your stories don't need to be funny or you trying to make them funny. Your focus should be sharing something authentic that relates to your topic regardless of the perception of the audience.
Support your Main ideas
Use statistics. Numbers put facts into a more concrete vision. Say if you spend 2 hours per day on social media for entertainment. 2 hours * 365 days = 730 hours / year. You could have finished 6 bachelor's degrees (120 credit hours). It's also common for doctors to tell you the probability of recovery from your illness. The way doctors present also matters like 1% of surviving vs. 99% of dying.
Cite experts. Experts generally are the ones who have the highest authority in making claims about a topic. And their claims are generally valid given that they've also supported their main ideas with the same methodologies we've learnt. Citing them would of course strengthen our arguments.
Use analogies. Abstract ideas can be hard to digest at first. Like teaching kids simple Math. We would replace numbers with fruits like 1 apple + 1 apple = 2 apples. It makes Math more relatable and reassembles their daily lives to clear out complications. It's easier to remember a story and connect it to a meaning.
Demonstration. This is what science class does. Theories on paper can turn into a compelling live demo. You won't believe it until you see it. It feeds our curiosity and it's much more fun. I still vividly remember Prof. Walter Lewin's demonstrating the conservation of energy with a pendulum swing in his MIT Physics class. This is how you capture people's minds.
(To be continued...)