The importance of public speaking
Most of us don't realize the importance of public speaking, usually because our job doesn't suppose to have this skill. "If I'm an economist why should I give attention to public speaking?" Because maybe one day at work you'll have to make an announce or to give a short speech about a new project, or if you have children, to express your opinion at school in front of the other parents.
There are plenty of possibilities to confront at least five times in your life one of these situations.
The statistics say that the biggest fear in one mans life is the fear of public speaking. It's even bigger than the fear of death.
The question is: " I'm much more afraid to give a speech tomorrow than to be killed in a train accident?" Oh... that's something odd.
"-Darling, tomorrow in the morning you have to go to your daughter school, to speak with the parents about the next year classes.
-Oh...no way! I'd rather die than doing this! "
See what I'm talking about ? That's not ok...
Calm down, take some warm socks to get away from that cold-feet feeling, and let's see what's all about the importance of public speaking.
Why do you feel bad when you have to start to speak in front of other people? Because you are afraid to screw up.
You are afraid:
you'll forget what you wanted to say, and finally have no clear point ; about the audience's benefit from your information ; you won't be followed by the others, because your ideas are too cluttered ; you'll go too deep in technical terms, irrelevant ideas ; you don't know how to end your speech, it's getting too long and your audience gets bored.
These are the main fears that I met and I still think that it's not the end of the world. At least you can say exactly what you can't handle.
I met someone who said "I'll be just fine, the only problem is that I don't know what to do with my hands.." , and the sequence of his ideas was so confusing that I couldn't follow. He messed up expectations of the public speaking curriculum that day without even noticying.
So if you know your problem, you can fix it.
Every time you start something to say, think of 2 main things: Point A - Point B.
You are getting from Point A to Point B. Don't let your words follow a strange path, that's the reason your speech is confusing and the people can't follow you. Start with the objective in sight and be explicit on your Point B. There is the end of your story, the reason that you walked all the way from Point A, the call to action, so people will know why you are in front of them. Here you'll understand the importance of public speaking.
To make your speech flow, try to see a form of your story. You should know your audience, more or less, so you have to find a way of starting your speech by grabbing their attention and taking them out from/of their personal thoughts.
As Jerry Weissman said, there are seven classic opening gambits that you can use:
a question, a factoid, a retrospective/ prospective, an anecdote, a quotation, an aphorism, an analogy.
A good question can make people in front of you want to listen what you are going to say. A short interesting story, relevant to your subject, can place you in the middle of attention, because everybody loves to hear true stories. There are also great quotes that you can start with, but you have to be careful of all their meanings. Or you can use an analogy to place in the light a complex topic by comparing it with another else known by everybody.
Now that you are in, you should introduce yourself, to be sure that all the people know who's in front of them.
Help your audience become inspired, they will feel much better as long as they will know what you are going to tell them.
Follow your path to Point B, and make them know in the meanwhile the final idea that you want to reach.
When you'll be finished for sure they will know who you are, what your point was and why they should be interested of your story. This is what makes you a good public speaker.
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