Public Speaking – Meaning and Basic Principles

Public Speaking – Meaning and Basic Principles


Public speaking (sometimes termed oratory or oration) is the process or act of performing a presentation (a speech) focused around an individual directly speaking to a live audience in a structured, deliberate manner in order to inform, influence, or entertain them. Public speaking is commonly understood as the formal, face-to-face talking of a single person to a group of listeners.

Public speaking is the process of speaking to a group of people in a structured deliberate manner intended to inform, influence or entertain the listeners.

Basic Principles of Public Speaking

On order to make a successful presentation ,a speaker should practice certain principles of good delivery.

1. Look Natural

If  the presenter is stiff or artificial ,he/she will look uncomfortable and awkward.The audience may seer this as a lack of confidence,which might affect their perceptions of credibility.The good speaker strives for a natural,easy going style of presentation.

2. Maintain eye contact

Make and maintain eye contact with the audience members often. This demonstrates  confidence in the information being communicated to them, and engages them in  discussion. Nervous eye-shifting and avoidance of eye contact will display anxiety that the audience will notice.

3. Practice

While we are humans and no one is perfect, consistently practising  presentations will continuously improve  public speaking skills. Speaking to a friend or a few colleagues is very different from commanding an audience of one hundred or one thousand people. The more you practice the better you will become, and the more comfortable you will be with public speaking.

4. Do not read from Notes

Reading from notes for any extended length of time takes the interest of  audiences away.although it is acceptable to glance at notes infrequently.Do not mumble.If you made an error,correct it and continue. No need to make excuses or apologize profusely.

5. Speak with conviction

If you rely believe in what you are saying.Persuade our audience effectively.The material you present orally should have the same ingredients as that which are required for a written research paper i.e. a logical progression from Introduction to Body to Conclusion.

6. Pause

Allow yourself and your audience a little time to reflect and think. Don’t race through your presentation and leave your audience,as well as yourself,feeling out of breath.

7. Audio-visual aids

There are many kinds of props which you may use for a successful presentation. This can be a good substitute for an introductory statement. This can also generate a more interesting approach to the audience .When using audio-visual aids to enhance your presentation,be sure all necessary equipment is set up and in good working order prior to the presentation.

8. Speak,Listen,respond,Adjust and Adapt

Speak to your audience,listen to their questions,respond to their reactions,adjust and adapt.Always be prepared for unexpected.If you are short of time,know what can  be safely left out. If you have extra time,know what could be effectively added.

9. Leave them with anticipation.

When it comes to public speaking, less is more. Make your presentation a bit shorter than expected. Never allow your delivery to be so long that your audience wonders when it will be over. Make them wish you had spoken longer and gone further in depth on your topic.

10. Inspire change

Focus on the benefit you want to provide your listeners or the change you want to encourage them to make. Think about the following:

*What is the purpose for your presentation?
*What are you helping or motivating your audience to do?
*What are you teaching them?
*What goals are you helping them to achieve?
*What message do you want them to walk away from your presentation with?

Public Speaking – Meaning and Basic Principles

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