top-rated free essay

Public Speaking

By brokentusks Dec 01, 2005 1256 Words
Before I started this class, if someone would have asked me if I wanted to give a speech in front of a large audience, I would have laughed in their face. But in reflection of my semester in speech class, I would now jump at the chance to talk in front of an audience. True, it is partially because I enjoy making a fool of myself, but it is in large part due to the fact that talking to people in a structured manner, such as a speech just doesn't scare the bejusus out of me like it did before I enrolled in this class. Why is that? Why does public speaking scare people? I feel that many people just don't understand the fundamentals. First off, things go much smoother if your audience finds you credible. Next, your delivery is just as important as your material. A nervous speaker with accurate facts is just as foolish as a smooth-talker spouting nonsense. Properly delivering your message to your audience is the only way to keep the audience's attention, because they are just as much involved in the speech as you are. Getting them to listen to you, and only you is vital; always leave them intrigued and impressed with a quality conclusion. So what is credibility and why is it important? The Greek word, ethos, was the name used by Aristotle for what modern students of communication refer to as credibility. It is the audience's perception of whether a speaker is qualified to speak on a given topic. The two major factors influencing a speaker's credibility are competence and character. I believe credibility is not only attained through research and study, but life experiences. What I mean by this is that anyone can go to the library and do research; with facts and statistics can pull off a very convincing speech. Are they credible? Yes, in this case. However, they would not be as credible as someone who has lived it. Take a cancer patient for example; someone who has lived it, and who has gone through chemo has all the credibility in the world. This sort of credibility was very evident in our class in particular. John educated us all on fishing and Matthew cooked for us. John, being a fisherman, and Matthew, being a culinary student are far better served to be giving speeches on their topics than I, or someone else who went to the library and researched a topic we had no clue about. Knowing your facts is unfortunately not enough; finding a common ground with your audience is also needed. An audience is more likely to accept what a speaker has a say if they are factual, and speak with conviction. This is however, easier said than done. In theory and in your mind... you're standing up at the podium, your voice doesn't crack and you don't get dry-mouth. You don't stutter, or slur or forget your next words. You deliver your speech, move the audience with your persuasive tone and you get a roaring applause at the end. Invariably, something will go wrong, no matter how much you practice. The biggest obstacle is stage fright. There's just something about the anxiety of giving a speech in front of people that doesn't sit right with most people, so we get nervous every time we have to do it. A bad speaking voice, poor posture, nervous habits such as feet shuffling and "ummm's" relate nothing but bad qualities back to the audience, thus bringing the quality of your speech down considerably. Nervousness is normal. The ones who succeed have learned to use their nervousness to their advantage. The best way to get better at something is to practice. Giving more speeches and talking to a group and gaining speaking experience will make you more comfortable giving speeches. Within that, practice your speeches before delivering them. The more prepared you are, the better you will be when something doesn't go as planned. Lastly, don't expect perfection. No one is perfect, is just not possible. Brushing it off when something doesn't go your way, such as the audience laughing at a joke you wrote, will make things much easier. Twenty-five percent. That is the amount of information that we, as an audience retain while listening. Listening to someone speak is just as demanding of a job as the person giving the speech. It is very easy for your mind to wander and not pay attention, especially if you've got bigger things on your plate: an upcoming test, relationship problems, lunch… all things that pop in our heads when we should be listening to the speaker. Some things we can't control: the air-conditioner kicking on/off, other peoples cell phones ringing or someone tapping a pencil or a foot. All of these things sidetrack our attention away from the speaker. As a speaker, it is your job to keep the audience entertained, so when you're up there talking, the person is willing listening and wanting to stay focused to hear what you have to say next, rather than focusing on how fast they can make it home afterwards. Speaking with energy, with gestures and eye contact are a few things to help alleviate poor listening. Seventy-five percent of information the audience won't remember anyway, and if you are delivering a poor speech, chances are the audience isn't going to be paying attention to that other 25%, so why even bother? Make the speech fun and informative for the audience, otherwise it's just a waste of time. Lastly, the conclusion... Why is it important? The rest of my speech was good, who cares if it my conclusion isn't all that great? Consider that the conclusion is the last thing that leaves your mouth, and it's the last thing your audience hears before you sit down and the first thing they remember about your speech. Yes, you may have had a great speech, but "And that's all I've got" really ruined it for me, the listener. It pretty much negates any good that you had throughout your speech, and leaves a bad taste in the audience's mouth. Still, on the other side of that argument, ending things brilliantly can seal the deal on a great speech and get you that roaring applause that you seek from your audience. A quote, or possibly a mind-boggling statistic on your persuasive speech is the best way to end things, because chances are someone has already said it better than you can. So, Mrs. Oulvey, or "teacher lady" as Deedee called you, I'm not quite sure which you prefer…I thank you for a great class. I put this class off until my last semester at SWIC because I was deathly afraid of it, but I can honestly say that I am now able to enter the world without the least bit fear of speaking to the public. Rather than saying "that's all I've got" I'll leave you with a humorous quote I found by an anonymous author: "According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy."

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Public Speaking

    ...The fear of public speaking describes the lack of confidence a person has in their abilities. Making them questioning their knowledge and the ability to convey the information they have to present. Cause the presenter to question how themselves. Stripping a person’s confidence will likely lead to them anxiety. Worrying about what the audience ...

    Read More
  • Public Speaking

    ...Material Charquita Moore Public Speaking Diagnostic Questionnaire INSTRUCTIONS ANSWER EACH OF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS IN COMPLETE PARAGRAPHS OF AT LEAST 150 WORDS. QUESTIONs 1. ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10, WITH 1 EQUALING LOVE IT, AND 10 EQUALING HATE IT, RATE YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT SPEAKING IN FRONT OF GROUPS. EXPLAIN YOUR REASONS...

    Read More
  • Public Speaking

    ...PUBLIC SPEAKING I. ELEMENTS OF PUBLIC SPEAKING A. THE SPEAKER The main element of public speaking He is seen as a person full of ideas, knowledge, and principles in life that in one way or another can inspire them in the challenges of life. CHARACTERISTICS OF AN EFFECTIVE SPEAKER 1. GOOD VOICE QUALITY Good voice quality/variety is a ...

    Read More
  • Public Speaking Diagnostic Questionnaire

    ...Material Public Speaking Diagnostic Questionnaire INSTRUCTIONS Answer each of the following questions in complete paragraphs of at least 150 words. QUESTIONs .1 On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 equaling love it, and 10 equaling hate it, rate your feelings about speaking in front of groups. Explain your reasons for this rating. When I think ...

    Read More
  • Public speaking

    ... The homework assignments was a great way to learn more of public speaking. The book provides great information of different parts of public speaking. The questions in the book made me understand more into depth of the different parts. I find it useful because it would improve the quality of my speeches. For example it learned the differenc...

    Read More
  • Public Speaking

    ...Public Speaking Public speaking is the process and act of speaking or giving a lecture to a group of people in a structured, deliberate manner intended to inform, influence, or entertain a listening audience. Public speaking is commonly understood as face-to-face speaking between individuals and an audience for the purpose of communication. I...

    Read More
  • Public Speaking Tutorials

    ...UNIVERSITI TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN (UTAR) UALL 3033 PUBLIC SPEAKING AND ORAL PRESENTATION BACHELOR DEGREE PROGRAMME ACADEMIC SESSION 201010 Tutorial 1 Introduction to Public Speaking Task 1 You are to introduce yourself creatively to your classmates. You have 2 minutes to prepare. Your introdu...

    Read More
  • Public Speaking Anxiety and Its Effect on Students

    ...Public Speaking Anxiety and Its Effect on Students Introduction Public speaking anxiety is a problem for many people. Some say that it is the number one fear of Americans over death. There have been many studies done in the general field of public speaking anxiety. I am going to review five articles that touch on various issues surro...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.