For a few people, it is easy to address an audience without much of a hassle, while for a few others it may be a nightmare to even imagine speaking to an audience. On whichever side you lie, whether you are confident to speak in front of a group of people, or it gives you the jitters, or whether you lie somewhere in between, there is a question that you might have contemplated over – is public speaking for everyone?
The answer is yes it absolutely is!
Public speaking is essential, whether you are in a business, are a student or are a part of the public arena. There are many benefits to addressing an audience, no matter what occupation you belong to. Public Speaking is not just restricted to giving a speech, but it has many aspects to it.
What is public speaking?
When we say public speaking is beyond a speech, it means speech, of course, although a very essential part of public speaking, cannot exist in isolation. Forming sentences and saying words out loud will probably be communication, but there is a high chance it may turn out to be one-sided.
Saying something out loud does not mean the message you intend to convey has actually been conveyed. Moreover, it doesn’t mean it actually created an impact – which is one of the major goals of public speaking.
Public Speaking is a presentation that a person gives on a particular topic in front of an audience. The topic can be anything – it can consist of varied varieties across different genres and issues. The major goal to be achieved with public speaking is to create an impact, an influence on the listeners.
It is also to give something to the listeners that they can carry with them for a long time. Even if the goal of your speech is to educate or spread awareness, it needs to be done in a way that will give the members of the audience something to take back each.
A lot can be done to make public speaking far more impactful. A lot of popular public speakers take the assistance of visual aids as a form of electronic media which would help enhance your speech. This doesn’t just keep the members of the audience hooked but also ensures better retention and greater impact.
Why is public speaking important?
Many surveys and studies have revealed that a lot of people across the globe, when asked about their biggest fear, stated that it was public speaking. Most often people are worried that they would mess up what they mean to say, embarrass themselves in front of the crowd, fall on stage, among many other ‘scary’ possibilities.
For any of the above reasons or beyond, if you avoid speaking in public, you are definitely missing out. Public speaking is something that can help you across so many different aspects of your life, including your day to day conversations and interactions with the people around you
Public speaking can help you in the following ways
1. Spread information
When you have something you really want to share, you would ideally want it to be communicated in a way that sticks with people, and public speaking skills go a long way in helping with that.
When you convey information in a way that is easy for the people to relate and connect with, it becomes easier for the people in the audience to actually pay attention to the information being presented to them, as well as it makes it more likely for them to process and understand the information.
2. Motivate others (and yourself)
Quite often, public speakers have the goal of motivating their listeners to work towards something. It can be working towards achieving goals, prioritising, managing time better etc. Essentially, the audience is motivated to make a change. This helps the speaker not only make other people’s lives better, but also creates a kind of self-awareness which helps the speaker work on themselves too. It’s pretty much a win-win!
3. Win over the audience
Whether you’re in school, college, corporate or simply managing life and family, at one point, you may have wanted to win over a particular group of people. Public Speaking is one of the most effective ways to win over someone. The skills that speaking in public gives you helps communicate effectively and keeps the listeners interested for a longer period of time
What are the benefits of public speaking in everyday life?
Public Speaking skills have varied benefits that can help you across everyday life and conversations. They can be put together in to these criterias:
When you have to speak at a wedding, give a toast at your friend’s promotion party or a sibling’s 21st birthday, that’s when entertaining speaking can be put to use. The main purpose of using this type of speech is to entertain the members of the audience, instead of it being just educational in nature with the goal of making the audience learn something. It has more to do with having a good time!
This is considered the most common type of speech. This type of public speaking is something we engage in consciously or unconsciously on a daily basis. The main goal of engaging in this type of speaking is to inform a group of people about something.
This can range from merely speaking about an educational topic, creating awareness on an issue or sharing experiences. It can vary, depending on if the information that needs to be shared is academic in nature, or professional.
More often than you may think, public speaking is done to persuade others. Your school or office debates, giving a formal speech like elocution or simply presenting your opinion in front of a group of people are all forms of persuasive speech.
A successful persuasive speech is, of course, the one that is successful in persuading members of the audience to reflect on what the speaker talked about.
Is public speaking for everyone? Like we said earlier, it absolutely is. If proper coaching and practice is given, people can develop their public speaking skills and eventually, their confidence to address an audience too. It is not a skill that may come naturally to most people, but it is a skill you can practice and learn. Better practice indeed leads to better confidence.
Use the following ways to boost your confidence and improve your public speaking:
Monitor your progress
It is tried and tested that one of the best ways to truly achieve your goals is to monitor your progress every step of the way. How you can do that is, by essentially breaking your goals down into far smaller goals.
Making smaller goals makes it much easier to track your progress and know what steps to take forward. Another way to monitor your progress more easily is to make your goals quantifiable in nature.
For example, if your goal is to get better at public speaking, keep track of how many times you practise in a day, in a week, etc. This won’t just help you stay on track with how much better you want to get, but also helps build confidence when you look back and see how far you made!
Get things done
Accomplishment leads to better confidence.
Achieving goals that you set for yourself in order to track your progress. When you start to meet your daily goals, you would want to achieve more and more goals, leading to a massive boost in confidence. Progress that you make helps you understand yourself better, set goals for yourself and keep track of those too.
Remember to follow through
When you make a commitment to someone else, you gain their respect when you actually follow through with your commitment. Similarly, it is important to follow through on the commitments you make to yourself.
Words are only words until they are followed and backed up by actions. When you stick by the plans you make for yourself to boost your confidence and get better at public speaking, following through with those plans in itself gives a sort of confidence boost. It is probably right to say that it, in a way, is a cycle.
For more ideas, check out our video on the same – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t15g2QOpQfs
Now that you know how to boost your confidence as a public speaker, it is also essential to know if any inherent characteristics you possess may be able to help you with your public speaking goals in the future.
I am an introvert, can I still engage in public speaking?
Yes you most definitely can! As an introvert, you may dread speaking publicly. And we don’t blame you. Over the years, there has been this general notion that introversion and public speaking just don’t go together.
There is an image that this job should be left on those who are inherently confident, charismatic, can grab people’s attention and can effortlessly convey what they want to. But is that always the case, definitely not.
No matter what your personality type is, whether you are an introvert, an extrovert or even an ambivert, everyone has the capability to be a decent public speaker.
As a person with introversion or as someone who has some introverted traits, there may be a few that will be really helpful to you as a public speaker, that even the extroverts might not have. You just have to be self-aware of these skills and make the best out of them.
Looking at your introversion as strength, rather than trying to be or act like someone with extroversion or extroverted traits is the first step. Observe and take notes of your key traits.
This way, you will understand your strengths and focus on highlighting those, rather than trying to be someone you aren’t, and ending up not giving your best performance in the process.
Am I too young/too old to master public speaking?
No you are not, and we do not need to know your age to tell you that. You can address an audience at any age, and do it well.
Look at it in this way, you already do engage in some form of public speaking when you address someone one on one. You just have to do that with a larger number of people. If you are an older adult, you have a lifetime worth of experiences to talk about. And if you feel you are too young, take public speaking as an experience that will teach you a lot.
With the core skills, characteristics and practice, you can master the art of public speaking at any age.
Top characteristics of effective public speakers:
“Be you” is probably one of the most cliched, or rather most heard phrases for anyone. But it indeed is extremely essential as well. As a public speaker, it is important to be authentic to yourself and to your audience, in terms of who you are, who you are on the stage, and the information that you present your audience with.
Having an insight into yourself and what your audience wants is one of the key characteristics into being an effective public speaker.
For example, presenting information based on facts, statistics and numbers wont work for an audience who is more oriented towards storytelling, and hence would abstain them from being hooked and truly pay attention to what is being said. A public speaker with a good insight will catch this immediately and change their ways on stage.
Does not matter if you are presenting in front of one person or a hundred, communication is always a two way channel. Both the parties in question need to be engaged in this. As a public speaker, it is essential for you to establish a verbal or non-verbal connection with your audience.
Sharing your experience is a very important part of public speaking, but it is also essential to remember to understand what the audience wants to hear, and listening goes a long way in helping with the same.
“The worst speech you will ever give will be far better than the one you will never give” – Fred Miller
Anxiety, jitters, consciousness are all natural, and they only make you human. In fact, it would be more strange if one did not experience some sort of anxiety while taking to the stage, at least initially.
But that does not mean public speaking is not for you. Like Fred Miller beautifully puts, a bad speech is better than no speech at all. If the worst case scenarios are something you cannot get out of your head, just think of it this way: unless you try, you would never know.
The pros, importance and advantage that good public speaking skills present to you beat the cons, jitters and worst case scenarios. Still not sure how to get started? We got you! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9T7d45OISE