The Importance of Public Speaking
As a leader, the importance of public speaking cannot be overemphasized. Public speaking is so essential in your role as leader because it means effective communication to your team members.
You might be speaking to inform, persuade or inspire; but the principle is the same: you must be able to bring your message across effectively if you want to lead well.
If a leader is good at doing his job but not good at communicating through public speaking, he will not be fulfilling his own full potential as well as the potential of the organization.
Have no qualms about it; if you are a leader, you have to understand the importance of public speaking and its role in your leadership. And not just understand it; you have to become extremely good at it!
However, there are several challenges when it comes to public speaking. If you’re like me, you’ve no doubt felt great fear and trembling when you went up to the stage for the first time to deliver a speech!
The first time I went up to speak in public was in 2007, when I was stepping up into a role of student leadership at University-YMCA.
As the vice president of the club, I had to give a speech about where I was moving the club toward in the coming year.
Maybe for yourself, you have never done it before, or maybe you don’t feel sufficiently prepared for it; but whatever it may be, you’re walking up to the stage with doubts about your own ability to deliver.
Well, take heart. It’s normal!
According to surveys done by experts, public speaking is MOST feared amongst all fears in the world, ranking even above the fear of heights, death, insects, financial problems, illness, loneliness and flying!
In fact, the same research came up with the fact that only 20% of Americans never experienced stage fright in their lives.
However, these can be easily dealt with if you adopt certain strategies to deal with stage fright.
Most of all, overcoming stage fright really comes with a lot of practice and experience.
The next challenge you have to face is to consider how you can effectively deliver your message. Sometimes how you interpret facts and information would not be how your audience receives it.
As such, you have to be clear about the communication processes that go through in a typical 2 person scenario.
But beyond the substance of the message you are delivering, it is essential to observe how you actually communicate with your body.
A good message delivered with a bad or inconsistent body language can cause the message to lose its effectiveness.
In fact, studies have shown that in a communication process, 55% of it is communicated through body language, 38% through tonality of the voice and ONLY 7% is the actual words itself.
A good presentation should also have the effective use of other visual aids like posters, flipcharts or powerpoint slides. These visual aids actually assist in the public speaking process and make your message even clearer.
As the saying goes, a picture speaks a thousand words. By using visual aids, you can quickly bridge the existing communication gap and get your audience to be on the same page with you.
So if you are delivering a speech, learning the effective use of these visual aids and even powerpoint slides will be extremely beneficial for you.
There are different types of public speaking formats, each with a different purpose. Let’s look at 3 of them that applies most to organization leaders:
Speaking to Inform
Speaking to Inform means that you have information you wish to relate to your audience.
The primary purpose of this format is to help the audience gain knowledge of a particular process, place, person or event.
As a leader, you would be using this because the information you are providing is either to be accountable to your team, or to aid them in their work.
Speaking to Persuade
Speaking to Persuade means that you are trying to influence your audience to think and act in a certain way.
The primary purpose is of this is to align your team member’s goals with the organizational goals, or to get their buy-in for a particular decision you are making.
Speaking to Inspire
Personally, speaking to inspire is the best kind of public speaking because of its power to motivate and encourage your team.
I find that this is also the easiest form of speaking because you don’t have to have length preparation; you simply speak sincerely from your heart.
Whichever type of speech you are using, using humor in your speech can be very useful in lightening up the mood and getting people in the listening mood.
However, you have to learn how to use humor effectively, as a misplaced joke or a insensitive comment can cause your whole speech to fall apart.
I have also prepared for you several public speaking jokes you can use for various topics; but you have to decide for yourself which jokes are suitable for the occasion, culture and mood of the topic.
Public Speaking Jobs
Do you have a passion for public speaking? The best way to become better at public speaking is to have a job that requires you to do so. I have compiled a short list of jobs that you can consider if you desire to become a master of public speaking.
Public Speaking Activities
Before you start any public speaking engagement, you might want to engage the participants in some ice-breaking or warm-up activities to get them pumped up and ready to receive your message.
Public Speaking Books
Still want to continue your education in public speaking? There are several resources out there that you can obtain. Here I will recommend some public speaking books that you can purchase and read to upgrade your ability.
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