Tips for Effective Public Speaking
public speaking involves addressing an audience to motivate, influence, persuade, inform, or simply entertain the listeners. it is a structured and deliberate process.
it is composed of five basic elements: speaker, message, audience, occasion, and effects. these are otherwise known as who, what, to whom, what medium, and what results?
called the “number one fear,” public speaking tops the phobia index for most people. few have the training and confidence required to overcome the fear of public speaking and connect with an audience.
public speaking is such a powerful form of communication that almost every profession requires it. the reluctance to get up in front of an audience can be a major impediment to career advancement. without question, it is an important skill for nurse educators to master.
what are some tips for more effective speaking?
1. dress appropriately and present the desired image. portray confidence and conviction.
2. use appropriate body language and gestures.
3. know your subject material thoroughly, including the purpose of the presentation. know it so well that you generate enthusiasm. preparation is one of the most important factors for oral communication success.
4. rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
5. be organized. prioritize your materials. keep the message succinct and coherent.
6. speak loudly and clearly. use a variety of tones of voice. pitch your voice high enough to be clearly audible to everyone in the audience. at the same time, it should not be so high-pitched to distract or aggravate the listeners.
7. don’t talk too fast. pauses (at pivotal points in the presentation) are very effective.
8. be vivid in the speech delivery. add some flavor to your message by including humor (when appropriate). use examples to bring your points to life.
9. speak to your audience, not your slides. do not read from notes. maintain eye contact for a second or two with as many people as possible.
10. be aware of your speaking environment. arrive early and walk around the classroom or lecture hall. stand in the location where you will be speaking, and also sit in a classroom seat.
11. know your audience. arriving early gives the presenter opportunity to meet listeners. it is a good idea for educators to greet students before class and chat with them.
12. keep your speech to a reasonable length and allow time for questions. it is best to communicate a clear set of ground rules near the beginning of the speaking engagement. for instance, if you do not want questions until the end of the presentation, state that up front.
when it comes to wording your message, less is more. if you're using slides, limit the content of each one to a few bullet points, or one statement or a very simple diagram. the use of visual aids should support your presentation, but not be your presentation. visual aids should reinforce learning while being easy to understand and of high quality. the best speakers look natural while using any visual aid, but they do not allow the visual aid to dominate the presentation.
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five elements of public speakingLast edit by VickyRN on Jul 10, '09
Joined: Mar '01; Posts: 12,046; Likes: 6,494
Nurse Educator; from US
Specialty: 16 year(s) of experience in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, pedsJul 5, '09I'd like to add a few more things that I've learned, such as summarizing what essential points the speech contained, to let audiences know what I'd most like them to carry away.
Also, repetition of salient points is necessary to accentuate them, being sure to draw an image of how they can be visualized. In my talks to women's groups about Breast Self Examination, I tell them about the night I found my breast lump. It was while reading an article about breast feeding, that my thoughts were triggered regarding the length of time it had been since I last examined my breasts.
Then I describe how I turned over onto my back, placed a firm smallish scatter pillow under the side of my back for each breast examined, to thrust the breast forward, making more of it available for my exam. That way I easily move into the demonstration portion of the presentation, and they have an idea of how spontaneously it can be done. Also, they know then, that I've discovered my own lump and know personally what it's like to do that.
I use eye contact with as many individuals in the audience as I can, acknowledging their presence there, with me. By noting their expressions, I can tell if they're following me, or if I need to use more examples for greater meaning.
Regarding your point # 12. Often there are time constraints that make it necessary when rehearsing talks, to time them until I can get them within the specified time, leaving at least a quarter of the time for questions. If I'm giving an overview of many different parts of a whole situation, I stop after one part, to ask what is unclear about what I've said. If there's dead silence, I figure no one was actually paying attention, or there is lethargy; and go over some essential points, after pausing to allow time for shy people to speak out. Usually audiences have questions, but may be reticent to voice them, lest they draw attention to their short comings.
My father was President of the Canadian "Dale Carnegie Club" (How to Make Friends and Influence People", the book that originated taught skills of public speaking, in the '50s). Each evening, my sister and I were the audience for our parents' speeches, and timed them. It was a great way to learn more about their subjects, and what was on their minds.Jul 6, '09OH! WHAT A GREAT ADVICE! I will use those tips for my upcoming duty. My first time duty in my entire life. Thanks!http://images.allnurses.com/smilies/lol2.gifJul 7, '09toastmasters international is an excellent resource for development of public speaking skills:
it claims, "become the speaker and leader you want to be."
some of the resources offered on the site:
need help giving a speech?
questions about leadership?
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