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Public Speaking Know How
Public Speaking Know How
Studies have found that retention is greater with pictures when compared to the written word. The brain will absorb a picture and store it to memory along with a corresponding word. The written word is stored by the brain as only the written word. If you compare remembering the contents of a book to the camera shots of a two hour movie, the recall is much greater for the video image as opposed to words on a page. Visual aids have the duality of a picture and a word. Learning to use a visual aid appropriately and effectively in a speech will increase the probability of a more memorable experience.
A visual aid accomplishes three objectives: clarity, interest and retention. When a speaker discusses an object and shows it at the same time, it provides clarity. If you’re discussing the recent SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule docking at the space station, clarity is amplified with pictures and an explanation.
Interest is the second objective achieved by using visual aids. When performing demonstration speeches, it’s important to have a physical demo to keep the audience’ attention as you go through the step-by-step process. While recalling a recent speech by an online student. his topic was 'how to change a tire'. Without a good visual presentation, a speech topic such as this would be like watching paint dry. However, with a little bit of finesse, explaining how to use the car jack or take off the lug nuts is much more interesting with visual aids.
The third objective of the visual aid is to provide retention. The amount of information we receive on a daily basis is insane. Being expected to keep up with everything we hear and see is impossible. Our brains go into overdrive and a good chunk of information is lost. By using pictures, our mind ingests information two-fold...by picture and word association.
Types of visual aids
There are so many different types of visual aids. Today, many use computer- generated presentations. If your plan is to use a PowerPoint, make sure the slides are sharp, simple, and to the point. Deliver your speech extemporaneously. In order to deliver a speech with few notes, a speaker will need to know the content of the slides. A speaker should be able to glance at the screen for a quick review then make eye contact once again with the audience.
Other types of visual aids include objects, scaled-down models of objects, photographs, artwork, graphs, maps, or the speaker. It’s a matter of being creative and finding the best possible visual aid for your speech.
How to use the visual aid
After finding a suitable visual aid, the next step is incorporating it into the speech. . If you’re going to use a visual aid, you need to know how to explain it. To simply show a visual aid without explanation may confuse the audience. Explain why you’re presenting the visual aid and what it means. Remember, the goal is to provide clarity, interest, and retention.
At first, it may seem awkward. If you’re demonstrating how to do something or make something, the body of the speech will be the demonstration. If you haven’t practiced using your props, you may make a mess of it all. By practicing with the visual aid, you'll find the places that need to be adjusted.
Another pitfall from lack of practice is the ‘dead air’ time during the speech. It’s important to keep the audience engaged. For instance, some students like to demonstrate how to cook or bake something. They’ll bring all their props, maybe even dessert for the classroom to sample. As the mixing process begins, students forget to speak. They forget they have an audience resulting in ‘radio silence’. If you’re going to demonstrate a process, be sure and have a couple of short stories or examples to share with the audience while demonstrating.
When creating visual aids, remember to keep them simple. If designing a PowerPoint, use a limited number of fonts. Be sure and use color on the slides to increase retention. Only have the visual aid in front of the audience as you’re explaining it. If you leave it in plain sight the entire presentation, the audience may continue to review the visual as opposed to listening to your speech. If you have handouts, don’t pass them around while giving your speech, wait until after the speech has concluded. If there’s something the audience needs to see while you’re speaking, enlarge the handout or use a projector.
It’s smart to use visual aids in your speeches. They aren’t meant to be a crutch, they’re meant to further enhance your delivery.
Any track star will tell you that the race doesn't just happen, it's a well-planned event.
Giving a formal speech requires a formal outline. If you’re a student speaker, it’s a necessary step in the speechmaking process. The formal outline or preparation outline requires strategic planning, research, proper grammar, and the fortitude to stick to the plan.
Students may think it an extra step that’s easily skipped, especially when speeches are only three minutes. This is absolutely not true. The outline keeps you on track and focused.
There are three main sections to the preparation outline: the introduction, body and conclusion. Before you begin putting pen to pad, you’ll need to determine the general purpose and specific purpose of the speech.
The general purpose is the broad goal of the speech. There are three: to inform, persuade, or entertain. When writing an informative speech, you present facts. There’s no opinion or conjecture, just the information. Speaking to persuade goes beyond giving information to convincing the audience to consider your point of view. Speaking to entertain is a speech that’s amusing, yet with a clear message. An example would be a toast or keynote speech.
After determining your general purpose, it’s time to create your specific purpose. The specific purpose statement is what the speaker hopes to accomplish in the speech. It’s designed to keep your speech on track. The statement narrows down the topic into one distinct idea. It should be audience-centered so the audience remains in the forefront of the speaker’s mind.
It’s time to start planning your research. If you’re speaking on a topic that’s familiar, the main points may come to you quickly. However, if you’re speaking about a topic of interest, it may require internet searches.
When searching research materials, it’s important to use credible sources. A credible source is unbiased and is backed with evidence. As the research unfolds, so do the main points of your speech. Take as many notes as you can. If you run across a good quote, jot it down. As you’re uncovering evidence for the body of your speech, you may find a good quote or two to use in the introduction or conclusion.
There are three main types of supporting materials most students use in their speeches: examples, statistics, and testimonials. The more the credible evidence, the more credible the speaker.
Once the main points evolve, it’s time to start building your speech. The main points may be broken down into sub-points. In order to create balance throughout the body of your speech, it’s important to create a clear path. A path that helps the speaker see how much evidence is available for each main point.
Balance is the amount of time spent on each point, whether it’s a sub-point or a main point. Main points are the backbone of your speech. They are what you want your audience to remember at the close of the speech. They help you prioritize, focus, and sequence your information. The sub-points are the examples, statistics, stories, analogies, quotes that back-up the main points.
At this point, you may have written the introduction of the speech. Opening remarks can be quite flexible with plenty of time for rewrites. While researching, you may have come across material for your introduction. Try several options before choosing the one.
After the body of the speech is ready, it’s time to write the conclusion. Typically, conclusions represent between 10 to 15 percent of your speech time. You want to be able to wrap up the main points of the speech and conclude with a bang.
As you review the outline, you may want to add transitional statements in the body of the speech, somewhere in between the main points or leading into the conclusion. The introduction has a ‘built in’ transitional statement called the preview statement. The preview statement discusses the main points of the speech before moving to the body of the speech.
Once the preparation outline is written, it’s time to add the cited sources. All main points and sub-points should be written in complete sentences. For the outline, you want each sentence to be a complete thought. Main points or sub-points shouldn't contain fragmented sentences or phrasing.
The preparation outline is the skeletal body of your speech. By taking a brief look at the outline, you should be able to see the connection among ideas.
After the preparation outline is ready to go, you’ll want to create a speaking outline for the actual speech. The speaking outline is created after the entire speech is written. You’ll be able to take key words and phrases from the written speech and organize it from the preparation outline.
The speaking outline is less formal and meant for the speaker only. The basic features are the same as the preparation outline. The difference is using key words and phrases as opposed to complete sentences. By using key words and phrases, the speaker is able to produce a more conversational quality.
In addition to the phrasing, the speaker may also write nonverbal cues in the margins of the outline. Maybe you need to remember to give good eye contact in the introduction so you draw a pair of eyes. The speaking outline is more casual, less formal, and is meant for your eyes only.
Great care should be taken when creating the preparation outline. It’s the inner workings of your well made plan. By following the outline, you’re able to stay on track and write your speech in an organized fashion. Then, it’s onward and upward to edit, practice, and give an excellent speech.
Steven Tyler of Aerosmith...'You're only as good as your last note."
When a speaker is speaking to inform, the objective is to disseminate information. When a speaker is speaking to persuade, the plan is to go beyond just giving information to espousing a cause.
The goal of the persuasive speech is to convince the audience to accept the speaker's point of view. The persuasive speech is arranged in such a way to convince the audience to accept parts, if not all, of a speaker's ideas. If accepted, the speaker may ask for a simple nod of agreement or they may want the audience to physically take action.
For someone that works in sales, persuasive speaking is a ‘must have’ in order to do the job. If the salesperson has researched the product, explained the features and benefits, and provided potential disclaimers; all that’s left is to close the deal. I share with my students that if the introduction is weak and the body of the speech has a few holes, make sure you nail the conclusion. Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith and former judge on American Idol said, “You’re only as good as your last note.”
There are four methods used in persuasive speaking: credibility, evidence, reasoning, and emotional appeal. For a speech to have the requirements needed to persuade, these four methods should be included in the speech writing process.
The first of the four methods is credibility. Credibility is the audience’ perception on the believability of the speaker. The two major factors that determine a speaker’s credibility are competence and character. Competence is the audience’ perception of the intelligence, expertise, and knowledge of the speaker. Character is the audience’ perception on the speaker’s sincerity, trustworthiness, and concern for the well-being of the audience.
Speakers that hold higher education degrees, certifications, or have initials like MD or PhD at the end of their name automatically are considered credible when speaking on topics that are in their wheelhouse. Their CV (Curriculum Vitae) proceeds them.
For example, if you’re wanting more information regarding the long-term effects of COVID-19 on lung health, attending a virtual talk with a pulmonologist or infectious disease expert is ideal. As a person seeking medical knowledge, your confidence in the speaker is rest assured.
The character of the speaker is more subjective. A speaker that's sincere and shows concern for the audience is more likely to be considered trustworthy and in turn, credible. Speakers of good character are typically genuine in scope and have no expectations of reward. It's a slippery slope but if your hearts in the right place, the audience will give you the benefit of the doubt.
There are three types of credibility; initial, derived, and terminal. Initial credibility is the audience’ perception of the speaker before they begin to speak. Typically, this is based on a speaker’s experience, education, proven track record, or reputation. Students will earn initial credibility after they’ve performed several speeches in front of the classroom.
Derived credibility is earned while speakers are in the process of delivering the speech. Once the topic is introduced, the speaker needs to provide credible content in the body of the speech and deliver the speech fluently with few errors.
Terminal credibility is earned after the speech has concluded. If a speech doesn't go as planned but the speaker 'rocked' the conclusion, earning the audience' credibility is still a possibility. As Steven Tyler said, “ You’re only as good as your last note.”
The second method needed for persuasive speaking is evidence. Evidence is the available body of facts indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid. Most student speeches use three types of evidence-based materials; statistics, testimonials, and examples.
Without evidence, it’s difficult to be a persuasive speaker and even then, it’s not guaranteed. It’s important to use credible evidence. When researching facts online, use websites registered by (.gov, .org, .edu). You’ll want to find articles that have been written by respected, well-known authors. Current materials are deemed more credible, at least within the last 10 years.
Good, credible evidence will go a long way in the eyes of your audience. As a student speaker, credible evidence is one of your best persuasive tool. The evidence collected from credible sources and presented as facts is the second method used in becoming an effective persuasive speaker.
The third method of persuasive speaking is deductive reasoning. At this point, a speaker begins to use their critical thinking skills. They draw conclusions based on the evidence collected and presented. If your evidence is solid, this step isn’t difficult. If you can put two-and-two together, you can provide the audience with reasonable assumptions based on the evidence. The trick is to be reasonable and keep it real.
There are a few guidelines to follow when drawing conclusions based on evidence. First, don’t make hasty generalizations. As it stands, pharmaceutical companies are in a race to develop a vaccine that will effectively fight the coronavirus. For instance, it's a hasty generalization to say because two or three patients improved after taking hydroxychloroquine that all patients infected with CoV-2 should take it. As more practitioners started prescribing the drug, more patients started developing worsening heart problems.
A second guideline for drawing conclusions based on evidence is embellishing the facts. It’s the big ol’ fish story. Events begins by catching a ½ lbs. crappie and by the end of the story you have a 10 lbs. Largemouth bass. It’s the boy who cried wolf.
And, as always, make sure your evidence is accurate. If statistics aren’t derived from sources that are fair and balanced, conclusions drawn based on the evidence won’t be persuasive and the speaker will lose their credibility.
The fourth method of persuasive speaking is emotional appeal. Emotions that tug at the heartstrings will cause an affected person to write a big check to your charity. The television commercials with the dogs and cats in the animal shelters afraid, cold, and alone, will prompt many to donate, volunteer, or start a ‘go fund me’ account.
Emotions may be generated by using emotional language, painting a vivid image, or speaking with sincerity and conviction. Emotive language is the deliberate choice of words to elicit emotion. Using specific words and phrases is more than just providing facts, it’s getting the audience to adopt the author’s opinions and attitudes toward a particular subject. Words are powerful and the better you are at using them, the more influential you’ll become.
Speakers may paint vivid images of a particular situation. It’s taking a storyboard and putting it into words. Instead of talking about the cluttered room, a more vivid description is the room had books on the floor stacked to the ceiling, piles of dirty laundry in three corners of the room, and paper wrappers scattered throughout from last night’s candy raid.
If you believe it, the audience will too. A dynamic speaker with the ability to speak with sincerity and conviction will have the audience eating out of the palm of their hand. Everything changes when you speak from the heart with passion and intensity. The audience will get as caught up in the presentation as the speaker.
As a persuasive speaker, it’s your duty to present all information accurately and with the best intentions of the audience in mind. If you’re speaking on a subject that’s controversial, try to establish common ground. The audience wants to be seen. Not everyone in your audience will agree with you so it’s up to the speaker to diffuse the animosity or mistrust. You may even want to present the opposing party's good side.
A persuasive speaker asks for the audience to do something. Whether it’s listening to ideas or physically taking action, it’s up to the speaker to lead the audience down the preferred path.