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- LO 03.01 – Discuss and apply best practices for public speaking
The act of public speaking is common in professional settings. From meetings and workshops to trainings and in-services, the opportunity to demonstrate speaking skills arises often in the workplace. This week’s discussion covers some strategies for how to best command audience attention and deliver a powerful message, especially while working on the job.
Whether it is a toast at your best friend’s wedding, a sales pitch for a panel of potential investors, or a training that you must deliver to your small department, public speaking is a common practice in all areas of life. Personal and professional settings both offer opportunities for speaking, though these opportunities might not always look like traditional public speaking engagements. If you have been working on a project with a team, it is very likely that you will have to present your progress or contributions in a group setting such as a meeting. This is a form of public speaking. Similarly, when you stop in at a patient’s hospital room to speak to them about the new regimen of medicine they will be receiving, and to show that patient’s family members how to best administer the new medicine, this is also a form of public speaking. Leading a training for other employees at your job on how to use a new piece of software that the company has purchased is also a form of public speaking. Hopefully, you are beginning to see the pattern here. Public speaking opportunities arise everywhere, and though speaking publicly can be a daunting task for some, the more comfortable one can be with delivering a message to one or more people, the more success they will find at navigating these opportunities as they arise.
One strategy for success in public speaking is to organize the content of your message in a way that keeps the listener(s) engaged. It is best to command attention, know the audience, and have a clear beginning, middle, and end. There are a few schools of thought on public speaking best practices, and these strategies can be summarized in four categories:
Have a Clear Introduction
This one is probably self-explanatory, but it is a good idea to have a clear start to your speech. If you are speaking to a large group of people, an obvious introduction can do wonders for commanding listener attention. In small groups, an introduction may not be as formal, but introducing yourself and your message helps people to know who you are and your contributions. Starting off in a clear way also helps establish your presence.
Know Your Audience
You may not have the luxury of knowing the members of your audience personally, but a simple scan of the room and consideration of the setting can tell you a lot about who is listening to you. It is a good idea to make sure the language you use does not alienate any of your listeners, especially on the basis of race, gender, age, or ethnicity. Knowing your audience can also help you to hook them in more effectively. If you are trying to persuade the room, it is best to provide the benefits the group will receive from siding with your choice. If you are speaking to inform, try using a statistic that listeners cannot ignore. Pay attention to the messages the audience sends you as you speak, too. Facial expressions and body language can signal whether you are engaging the room or losing it. Concepts that need more explanation will also show up on the faces of your listeners as they might give an expression that shows they are not understanding all of what you are explaining.
Utilize Evidence and Examples
This builds nicely on the previous category. The best way to establish credibility with your listeners is to offer factual information that they can digest as they receive your message. Credibility has only become more crucial in modern times, and it is best to always share truthful information. Sharing the right information can go a long way in supporting your message.
Conclude Your Message Clearly
You have introduced yourself, hooked your audience, shared some valuable gems, and perhaps even elicited some audience/listener feedback, keeping them engaged. Do not just drop off after getting this far. You should conclude your message by recapping some of what you have covered. It is also nice to leave listeners with a good takeaway, if the occasion is appropriate. The longer your message can stay in the minds of your listeners, the better. A great conclusion helps you do this.
Recall a conversation or speaking engagement that you listened to that made you bored. Which best practices did the person speaking to you fail at? How could this be improved?
For your citation, you might use articles that show examples of best practices when speaking and how to avoid pitfalls. You can also find articles from experts that suggest ways to improve your public speaking skills.
Your initial and reply posts should work to develop a group understanding of this topic. Challenge each other. Build on each other. Always be respectful but discuss this and figure it out together.
Per the Due Dates and Participation Requirements for this course, you must submit 1 main post of 150+ words, 1 IWG citation, and reference, as well as 2 follow-up posts of 50+ words. Responses can be addressed to both your initial thread and other threads but must be your own words (no copy and paste), each reply unique (no repeating something you already said), and substantial in nature. Remember that part of the discussion grade is submitting on time (20%) and using proper grammar, spelling, etc. (20% per post).
Remember that part of the discussion grade is submitting on time and using proper grammar, spelling, etc. You’re training to be a professional—write like it.
We may not realize it, but we are exposed to some form of public speaking every day. This could be in the form of our president speaking to the nation or even news anchors reciting the news. Usually we expect these forms of public speaking to be clear and professional, however sometimes they can fall short of our expectations. One of the most famous examples of “bad” public speaking is when contestant Caitlin Upton was interviewed for the 2007 Miss Teen USA pageant. In this particular interview, the speaker “struggled to answer her question, stumbling for 30 seconds with an answer that barely made any sense” (Ong, 2017). I feel that nervousness led her to answer the question too quickly, or that she may not have understood the question at all. There are several habits that we should follow, as well as not follow, when pubic speaking. Jacquelyn Smith from Business Insider mentions several habits to avoid such as “eye darting, distracted mannerisms, and lack of pausing” (Smith, 2014). Public speaking can seem difficult to some. However, with practice you can master this skill.
Ong, J. (2017). “15 Bad Speeches We Can Learn From”. Retrieved from https://highspark.co/15-bad-speeches-avoid-in-presentations/ (Links to an external site.)
Smith, J. (2014). Public Speaking Habits To Avoid At All Costs. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/10-public-speaking…
I remember when I was a kid in school most of the times when we had to listen to a speaker no matter what the subject is was boring. I was not even paying attention to most of the speech because it was either something that did not interest me or it did interest me but but the speaker would not be interesting to listen too. I believe if the speaker would have started out with a good hook or even a good story I would have been more interested in listening to what they were saying. There are 10 steps to speaking,
“1) Start off with something shocking
2) Tell a story
3) Go off script
4) Use emotional inflections in your voice
5) Use the power of louds and softs
6) Alternate your pacing
7) Call out individuals in the audience
8) Set up some jokes
9) Skip the data
10) Never read a slide”(DeMers, 2015)
I really believe that if the speaker was following these ten steps I just cited then I would have been more willing to listen to the speaker. If you do not gain the interest of the listeners then they will not be paying too much attention to what is being said. I know half the time what the speaker was saying I did not even understand. I think you need to also gear your speech to your audience and talk in a way that audience will understand what you’re saying and is able to follow what is being said.
DeMers, J. (2015, August). 10 Presentation Tricks to Keep Your Audience Awake. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/jayson-demers/10-presentation-…