Wondering what the art of public speaking is all about? Want to know why it is important to you? Interested in becoming effective in the art of public speaking? Then, what are types, principles and ethics in public speaking that you must know?
Hmm… Also intrigued by the history of public speaking?
Then take a seat and enjoy!
But wait a minute…
Is Public Speaking an Art?
Good question. Let me answer that question with another question. “What is an art?”
I just checked the Cambridge International Dictionary of English (1996 Edition) and part of the definitions its gives are: “An art is an activity through which people express ideas. An art is also a skill or special ability”.
When an artist paints, a dancer dances on stage or an actor/actress performs, what do they do with those skills and special abilities?
They do more than entertain! They have a message to pass across—they want to express themselves. They want to connect with the emotions of their audience and captivate them. They want to pass their message across in a way that interests them (the audience) and that will yield the best results.
Alright? What about public speaking?
A public speaker, just like the artist, has a message he wants to use his skills to pass across effectively. He wants to express himself too and also connect with the emotions of his audience. He wants to get hold of their attention and make his message sink… Yes, he wants it to achieve the desired effect on them!
Some good speakers can actually ‘paint’ pictures with their words. They can bring life to their speech. They can stir up their listeners’ imaginations such that they begin to see the image crystal clear in front of them with their mind’s eye!
Ok! With that comparison, let me ask that question once again. “Is public speaking really an art?” what’s your conclusion this time? Did I hear you say “YES”? I think I did! Good. You had your thinking cap on!
Having established that public speaking is an art, so…
What Is Public Speaking?
Art of public speaking is the activity of speaking to a group of people. It is usually done with the intention of informing, persuading, motivating or simply entertaining the audience.
The art of public speaking is closely related to oratory and presentation. So they are often used interchangeably.
To many people, the thought of public speaking easily conjures up the picture of a hall filled with people listening to a speaker on a podium—a strictly structured formal setting!
However, experience has taught me that public speaking can (and in fact does) take place in less formal settings as well…
Consider these scenarios…
You are at a friend’s wedding and you are called upon to give the welcoming address or a toast. Or you are on a picnic and you are to brief those present about the activities lined up for the day. Perhaps, you are in a class and your teacher calls you to the front of the class to talk about a topic for five minutes. The list goes on and on.
What are you doing?... Public speaking of course!
The point is that art of public speaking can take place in a variety of informal settings, not necessarily in a hall or an auditorium.
Objectives of the Art of Public Speaking
Picture yourself giving a talk or making a presentation to an audience. It could be your workmates, your superiors at work, your friends and family members, your classmates or any group of people at all. What is(are) your reason(s) for talking to them? You definitely have a clear purpose in mind… Otherwise, you are just blabbing and fooling around!
If you know the reasons, then you know the objectives of public speaking.
However, let me jolt your memory a little…
The objectives of public speaking can be any of or a combination of any of the following:
- To transmit information
- To motivate or inspire to take action
- To persuade or influence
- To entertain
- To simply tell a story.
Becoming Effective in Public Speaking
First and foremost, why do you think public speaking is important? Need some help? OK. Click here to read about the importance of public speaking.
Good public speaking activities and skills are often considered invaluable assets because these skills can be used for almost anything. Plus people who possess these skills command great respect in the society…
And I see no reason why you shouldn't command such respect too!
As a starting point in your quest to become an effective public speaker, I strongly recommend that you read about:
- The Ethics in Public Speaking
The simple information you will gather will either make or mar your aspiration of becoming an effective speaker.
- Types of Public Speaking. Learn about the different types of public speaking. The type you choose at a particular time will majorly depend on your objective(s) and the make up of your audience at that time. So it’s important you consider them.
- The Principles of Public Speaking. Read about the important principles you should keep in mind.
- A bit of the history of public speaking won’t be a bad idea too. After all, it is often said that no knowledge is lost.
Talking about knowledge, here’s a piece of advice from me…
Don’t be tired of acquiring knowledge because…
Knowledge is key to your success in public speaking!
On a final note, I’d like to leave you in the hands of Francis Bacon who said…
“knowledge itself is power” (in Religious Meditations, 1957).