How to become a good public speaker
Speaking collectively to audience large or small is public speaking. The first requisite
for a good speaker is a good voice - neither too loud nor too low or inaudible, not harsh
but sweet, and far-reaching. A good voice is sometimes God's gift. In some voices you will
notice a quality which arrests and attracts you. But cultivated to the required quality.
The next requirements for a good speaker are a good expressive face, no ugly expression on
the face, no awkward gesture, no thumping of tables but a standing posture of dignity and
grace. The physical appearance and gestures of the public speaker are very important
because the members of the audience have too see as well as hear the speaker. It is the
temptation of most speakers to rely on physical gestures to make a point. But on the whole
my experience is that by manipulating the voice you do far more to make point than by any
The length of a speech is a matter of great importance. An hour is long enough for a good
public speech. The secret of success is the art of omission. A painter when he paint all
the palm leaves. He paints just enough to create the impression of a full grown tree. You
must leave your audience with a feeling that you should have spoken effectively before
public audience you must always keep your hand on the pulse of the audience. Long before
the audience gets tired or restless, you must stop.
A successful public speaker's main object is always to rouse and retain the attention of
his audience. It is not easy, but it comes with practice. Humour is a powerful tool. To
make the audience laugh is the way to their hearts.
Good anecdotes and stories are great aids to public speaking. Of course you must avoid
becoming a bore, by telling stories only. But you can always makes a point by a short
story or anecdote. Quotations are very useful in public speaking. But they are most apt
when they come to you spontaneously.
When you address public audience you must prepare your speeches in advance. The best
preparation is to make a mental note of the points you want to make and plan how you
propose to begin and close your speech.
The whole speech must be a logical one closely argued and with the deliberate purpose of
making the points you want to stress.
The language of your speech is important. If you speak in English, you must use correct
modern English and not use bombastic language. You must be understood by your audience
easily and well.
The essential background of all pubic speaking is the audience. A public speaker should
therefore make it a point to study his audience carefully. Whenever possible you should
address an audience after some others have done. That will give you time to watch the
audience and learn how it reacts to the speakers. Then you can adjust your speech to the
audience. This may not always be possible. You may be the chairman or you may be selected
as the first speaker. The safest rule in such cases is to assume that the audience is a
normal and friendly one and start your speech. But you must watch your audience carefully,
and id necessary adjust yourself to the audience.
There are different kinds of audience. There is the friendly audience. It is comparatively
easy to address. But, if you are a constant speaker before friendly audience, you may tend
to repeat yourself and not take sufficient pains to prepare your speeches and try to
convince and enthuse the audiences. You must avoid this danger.
The there is the hostile audience. The bulk of the audience may be friendly to you; but
few people may try to turn the audience hostile to you. Such elements may make short
relevant comments on your remarks. If you have presence of mind you can always turn the
table on these people. A sharp repartee especially if it is humorous will make the
audience laugh at the interrupter and he will quieten down. But there is another set of
deliberate interrupters who ask questions, not with a view to getting them answered but to
interrupt the speaker for the purpose of disturbing the meeting. It is best to ignore them
and refuse to answer the questions.
If, however, you are making a speech, which the audience does not like really and
therefore is hostile, you must be careful. You must then do your best, employ all the
weapons in your armory of eloquence and try to convince the audience or make them realize
that there is a good deal to be said from your point of view.