Speaking Skills hold a valuable position in our day-to-day lives. They are nothing but a cluster of individual skills that help a person improve their dialogue and their delivery, so that there is a greater impact in the person’s words. Speaking skills are often cultivable and can easily be picked up through experience and methodical practice. However, these smaller skills hold a large weight over how the speaker and his message are perceived and taken by the audience. These skills thus shouldn’t be overlooked and should be refined for a better performance in one’s professional life.
Important Speech Elements
Vocabulary: Having an open and extended vocabulary is very crucial to the quality of your speech. Choosing the right words, refining them to convey exactly what they’re supposed to mean. Sometimes making the right word choice can do so much as alter the meaning and tonal color of the entire sentence. However, this certainly doesn’t imply that one must over use vocabulary, or else that may become a hurdle for the listener to absorb the meaning and this may further create broken links of communication resulting in lower interest to the speaker.
No Plain Speaking: A lot of the times, audiences complain of the speaker being too monotonous and dull. This happens when there is a lack of tonal moderation and flexibility in the speaker’s voice. You can avoid this monotony by practicing intonation and pauses before your speech. Better intonation automatically ensures better delivery. Sometimes being robotic or having too loud intonation may cause your speech to shatter completely. For the same, citing relatable examples is a great way to indulge into interactive relatability and draw the attention of your audience. However, citing irrelevant or outdated examples, or over dragging the examples or for that matter extreme generalization of the example may harm your credibility.
Speech Writing: Speech writing involves gathering all the key points for the speech and then laying them out one by one in an order that allows logical flow of speech. A good speech should be pre-determined yet flexible, where the key points have been laid out in advance. The introduction should explain the topic and what it means well, the body should be in-depth but to-the-point and should be supported with data and relevant examples. The conclusion or the ending statements should summarize the main points covered in the speech and should also open room for further discussion. If necessary, the contact details of the speaker should also be provided to enable further communication or one on one query solving and discussion.
Giving Analogies: A very important part of speeches is also quoting relevant examples and making analogies. Through the years, it has been evident that people understand concepts better when explained with the help of examples. Analogies also play a similar role. Difficult or complicated concepts can be made easier with daily-life analogies. But as mentioned above, over dragging or over generalization may harm your speech.
Story Telling: Many times, an important component of reciting speeches is to tell a story. Even if the point of the speech isn’t to tell a story, it could be a value addition to the content to have the flow mimic that of a story. Storytelling is a proven form of skillful art of communication which has been practiced since ancient times by our ancestors and forefathers. Our folklores are an evident example of the same that have taught us a greater portion of how our ancestors led their lives. Hence, while giving a speech, it is not only important to share important information and updates but it is also important to create a relationship between the concept that you want to explain and how it can be experienced or has been experienced by anecdotes.
Slogans: From a psychological perspective, slogans are important because repetition of slogans and them being short and effective makes the audience remember the message better and imprint it in their minds for a longer duration. I would like to share a slogan that our CEO often uses, “I practice before I preach”. This makes us believe that she is a leader who paves a path rather than simply guiding us through. There have been leaders, teachers, professors and even our parents who speak slogans unknowingly that make their ideologies clear while communicating and executing their tasks; hence slogans are an important feature while making speeches or presentations.
Language Proficiency: Being fluent in a language doesn’t just mean you know the language, it also means that you are wise in the ways of using the language as your tool. A good command over the language you’re speaking is essential to give a sense of understanding and faith to your audience. This also means using easy to understand and regional ways to communicate with the audience. This makes it clear that the same level of language or set of vocabularies cannot be used to represent various audiences. Each set of audience has a different level of grasping and relating, hence each audience needs a customized and crafted language for representation and relating to them one on one.
Forming Effective Arguments: Giving a presentation or speech or taking the lead to speak is not always the case. You may be part of a seminar or a conference, where you may find an opportunity to ask questions or draw logical arguments, it is important you frame them well. It is a part of giving structure to your little speech to form logical and meaningful arguments, and making use of them at the right time. This practice can be developed with time and experience but also through reading and improved knowledge.
Developing a Vision: Developing your vision of what you want your words to convey is crucial so you can convey this meaning to others in a better way. This also helps with clearly stating what your speech or talk is meant to discuss and what it wants the audience to envision after listening to it. Remember to ask for suggestions from experts or suitable people for your speech before delivering it, so as to make necessary changes that could be fruitful and effective.
Skills to Improve Delivery
Outfit choice and Grooming: “Looking your worth” is the first rule to having a neat first impression on whoever is in front of you. Corporate events usually have a semi-formal dress code with sophisticated colors and clean up-do. Another reason why you should put effort in dressing well is because neat appearances set the ‘halo effect’ in motion and have your audience view you in a positive light. People have often associated well dressed speakers with qualities like being well-informed, confident and self-secure.
Body Language and Eye Contact: The importance of eye contact and body language is widely discussed and valued. Hand gestures, the way you carry yourself on stage and engage your audience makes or breaks a speech. And it is well said by a well-known American lyricist, Martin Charnin; “ You’re never fully dressed without a smile.”
Stage Presence: Stage presence is important because it enhances the effectiveness of the speaker and the message being delivered. There are times, especially in the case where there are multiple speakers, where you are required to draw the attention of the audience. Stage presence comes in really handy in times like these. Stage presence can be improved by tactics like involving the audience in your presentation, including elements of method acting. Even smaller aspects like elevating your fashion and exhibiting high energy is a good way to improve your stage presence.
Effective use of 3D space: One major component of speaking in public or on stage is being able to make effective use of the available space. It could just be by a single thing of walking more around the stage or more explicit and complex practices like having performances or acts on stage.
Use of Props: Props are items that one uses to support/assist their performance. Using helpful props, even flowcharts, ppts, etc. could be helpful to help explain your concepts better. It also helps with making the content easier to understand for visual learners and provide more visual cues for the audience to remember the information well.
Capturing and Maintaining the Attention of the Audience: The audience listens to you when you are able to hold their attention. Audience attention doesn’t just have to be caught, but also maintained. This can be done through any of the techniques stated above but the biggest component to grabbing audience attention is audience involvement. If the audience feels integrated in the speech and or is made a part of the discussion, there are greater chances that their attention will be focused on the speaker and will also be maintained throughout the presentation.
Building Tension and Suspense: Cliffhangers and build-ups are the most widely used ways to keep the audience hooked to the presentation. This is often made use of by TV shows and entertainment performances. What this does is builds anticipation among the audience and makes them look forward to the next part of the presentation.
The above discussion not only helps the reader understand the importance and significance of speaking and delivery skills in public speaking but also highlights the key ways in which these skills can be honed and put to effective use. The areas of focus would be capturing the audience's attention, keeping their interest raised and making a good impression. The audience can vary from team members, board members, class of students, a small group of people in a social and informal setting, or fellow mates during a seminar or conference. Your speech should be an essential part of your personality that could mark your presence distinctly!
Hope you found this article helpful. If you or your organization is interested to learn more about such attributes and behavioral skills at the workplace, feel free to get in touch with us at RGB Training Services!