Decoding the Public Speaking Process

Public speaking can be categorised under any form of speaking where there is an audience and the speaker. If viewed broadly, public speaking is a part of the art of persuasion, to provide information or even to simply entertain. In varying structures or scenarios, the act of Public Speaking has a definite flow to it. Let’s understand the different elements that shape the flow and can help create a clear base for beginners in this field.

Accept the Speaking Assignment At any one or several moments in your life, you may be presented with the opportunity to do some public speaking. It could be at a wedding, in a class, in an event or simply in a business meeting. The first challenge, is to accept the speaking assignment extended to you. In this state, your first task would be to ask the right questions such as — Who is the audience? What is the occasion? and What is the topic? Knowing the answers to these questions will create a good starting point and a strong base for you to do a good job.

2.Analyse the Audience. In different scenarios, your group of audience will vary. But in the broader sense it is important to understand that today we live in a world where individuals can’t be generalised easily. Our audiences are bound to be comprised of people from different ethnic backgrounds. Therefore, it is of great significance to know about their age, gender, sexual orientation, racial, ethnic, or cultural background and religion. This demographical and psychological analysis will enable you to prepare a speech that is all-inclusive and doesn't discriminate against anyone.

3.Analyse the Occasion It is important to understand as well as consider the nature of the occasion where you will be speaking. It maybe a speech in the boardroom in front of the board of directors, at a wedding or maybe in a classroom setting. Understanding the occasion will further clarify the estimated number of people that will form your audience of 10 or 100 or 1000. Included in the analysis of the occasion is a physical visit to the venue or room where you are to deliver a speech or talk. This will help you familiarise with and imagine the scenario as well as give you an idea of where you will be standing.

4.Establish the Objectives There are three main standard objectives across the spectrum of public speaking. You speak to inform the audience, to convince them or to entertain. The most common types of speeches are informative speeches which further fall under four categories — Speeches about objects that visible as well as tangible, Speeches about processes, Speeches about event happening or yet to happen and Speeches about concepts like beliefs, theories, principles or ideas.

5. Analyse your Knowledge of the Subject Analysing your knowledge of the subject you are going to be talking about is very important once you have put together the information you have gathered over time or by doing additional research on the same topic. The opportunity to speak or present could have come up due to your expertise in the given subject as well. If that’s not the case then this step is even more important so to gauge the level of your knowledge about the specific topic. This will give you a chance to collect enough examples, illustrations or anecdotes that would further aid you in creating a well balanced speech. Also, the more knowledge you have about the subject that much more confident you are bound to feel on the stage.

6. Synthesise the speech After having collected the needed information for your topic, the next step is to synthesise your speech. You can consider it as the act of organising the speech in a way that adds worth for the audience you are addressing. Every well structured speech consists of an introduction, body and conclusion. The recommended way to start out is by writing the body of the speech first and then going back to prepare the introduction. Together the introduction and body can guide you to further write the conclusion.

Depending on the type of speech you are preparing, it is important to understand the right pattern to follow like; chronological pattern where you narrate a sequence of events in a particular order. The other pattern is the problem-solution approach where the speech only has two parts. The choice of the pattern to follow helps you to be orderly while you prepare a presentation.

7. Prepare for Delivery In the process of preparing to deliver your speech, you must also create a solid outline of your speech. This summary or outline will help bring clarity to you as well as your delivery. Also practice your speech as many number of times as possible, be it in your own privacy, in front of a mirror or in from of a few friends and family. This will aid you in determining the time your are taking and to further eliminate unnecessary details.

8. Deliver the Speech

It is for this particular stage in the flowchart that you have put all the time and efforts in. Everyone would like to listen to a speech that is clear and concise right from the start to the end. You should also choose words that you also understand without strife to include terminology with complex words that your audience will not understand.

Several Verbal and Nonverbal Communication factors play an important part — such as Voice, Tone, Pitch, Pace, Body Language, Movement, Hand gestures, Presentation in ensuring that your Speech is a great one.

9. Prepare Post Speech Evaluation It is during this stage that we look back at the entire process to make an assessment about whether everything went according to plan. It is also now that we should be open to receiving feedback which could be positive or negative. While you may have done a good job there will always be scope for improvement. It is your job to understand and work on the same for your next speaking assignment.

Happy Speaking!

Content Curator and Founder — The Story Brewer